Stakeholders Seek Additional Funding For NDDC

Mohammed Shosanya

Niger Delta Stakeholders have emphasized the need for additional funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission,NDDC.

They said such funding should be legislated with at least 3 percent of Value Added Tax revenue

These were part of the resolutions contained in a communique issued at the end of the Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit 2024, which took place at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, a statement from Seledi Thompson-Wakama,Director, Corporate Affairs said.

The stakeholders resolved that funding the implementation of the regional development strategy should be done through three sources:Traditional budget sources; Public Private Partnerships; Development Finance

In order to support the funding plans, they agreed that the initiation of the Niger Delta Development Bank, NDDB, to drive the mobilisation of development finance from local and global sources should be given priority. “Loans should be given to SMEs within the region to drive economic and industrial growth.”

They emphasized the urgent need to re-activate the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Advisory Committee,in line with its Establishment Act, to advise and monitor the activities of the Commission.

The communique stated that there is urgent need to complete the East-West Road which was awarded nearly twenty years ago, to ease transportation across the region.

It further called for a thorough consideration of the NDDC (Establishment) Act, with a view to initiating amendments of the Act, where necessary.

On the issue of preparing a new roadmap for development, the stakeholders resolved that “proper planning is crucial to any development and therefore the review of the Niger Delta Regional Development Masterplan, appropriate data gathering was essential to any realistic development plan. There must be quantitative and qualitative input from key stakeholders in preparing or reviewing the Masterplan.”

The summit agreed that all funds due and outstanding to the NDDC from statutory sources (including the Federal Government and ecological fund) be vigorously pursued and recovered.

The stakeholders underscored the import of increased synergy between the NDDC and the Advisory Committee to achieve a more efficiency and activate all organs provided for in the Act.

They addressed the issue of development agencies working at cross purposes and resolved that measures must be taken “to avoid duplication of projects and efforts in the region by ensuring robust consultation between the NDDC and the nine member states in project implementation.”

The summit said: “There is urgent need to remove the NDDC from the TSA Policy, as it limits the Commission from fully achieving its interventionist mandate. That the Federal Government should strictly adhere to the tenure provisions of the NDDC Act and avoid the incessant dissolution of Boards of the Commission and the aberrant issue of Interim Managements to run the affairs of the Commission. Also, the Commission should be insulated from Political interference which puts undue pressure on the leadership of the Commission”.

According to the communique, “the region’s educational curriculum should be reviewed and designed to meet 21st century needs. Technical and vocational training must be given priority by creating Technical/Vocational training hubs. There should be improved funding of the region’s educational system.

It said further: “On healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, there should be sufficient funding of rural and community health centres and the training and retraining of the personnel to man them. The private sector should be engaged more in partnerships in these areas.”

The stakeholders made a case for women and youths, calling for more representation of women in all sectors of the region’s economy, adding that there should be programmes for Persons Living with Disability.

The communique posited: “On sports, tourism, culture and hospitality, there is need for sustained investment and capacity building in the region’s entertainment and creative industries.

“Sports development in areas where the region has comparative advantage such as swimming and wrestling should be given serious attention. There is need to have a special gathering for the creative industry.”

On the issue of the degradation of the environment through oil pollution, the stakeholders recommended a holistic remediation across communities in the Niger Delta to avoid compromise on cleaned areas, adding: “Government should uphold the provisions of Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN) and enforce proper de-commissioning of oil facilities.

The communique also gave the prescriptions of the stakeholders on varied issues: namely that modern technology should be deployed in project monitoring and evaluation; that there should be an integrated waste management plant which can convert wastes to wealth and that for erosion control and flood management, there should be canalization, shore protection and land reclamation projects.

Other areas addressed,included community sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns on ecological issues; biodiversity conservation and reforestation to stimulate mangrove restoration; creation of technology hubs within the region to drive creativity, innovation and the rapid development of the region in areas of artificial intelligence and diversification from oil and gas to agro-based regional economy.

The communique called for a regular convocation of stakeholder engagements.

FG Says One Million Vehicles Will Run On CNG By 2027

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government,has demonstrated its commitment to converting at least one million vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel by 2027.

The Commercial Operations Manager, Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative, PCNI, Mr. Omo Imoukhuede, disclosed this on Friday during a guided tour CNG filling in Abuja.

He said more CNG kit conversion
centres would be opened across the country in the coming days.

He stated that PCNI “has been very strategic in everything that we have done in pushing the CNG initiative to ensure that the adoption and awareness comes to light. We are starting with Abuja and we will be rolling out in other states across the Federation. Hopefully and as you can see, work is ongoing, the task will be accomplished”.

He noted that the first focus is on mass transit and commercial transport operators as they were key to the government’s target of reducing transportation cost.

Speaking to journalists at the NIPCO Plc CNG station, Assistant Manager, NIPCO Gas, Mr. Sunday Ayoola, said the installation of the conversion kit takes about five hours to complete.

He disclosed that the kit allows the vehicle to run with both petrol and CNG without any hitches, adding it costs about N4,000 to fill the cylinder at N200/standard cubic meter. He said with a full cylinder the vehicle could cover more than 150Km.

He assured motorists of the safety of the CNG cylinders, adding that “in case of impact nothing happens to this storage because it is 7mm (millimeter) thick. The cylinder has been designed to withstand impact and to withstand temperature.

“People are always apprehensive about natural gas, petrol and their volatility. Natural gas is lighter than and once it escapes from the cylinder it goes up above air making sure that there is no spool around unlike petrol. When there is leakage of petrol it creates a spool within the vehicle and any slight source of ignition, the vehicle is ignited. This is not so with natural gas and because of that basic property it is safer when compared to petrol”, he explained.

My Renewed Hope Agenda Will Correct Neglect Of Niger Delta-Tinubu

Mohammed Shosanya

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to correct the years of neglect of the Niger Delta region through the Renewed Hope Agenda.

He spoke at the Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit 2024 held in Port Harcourt, where he was represented by the President of the Senate, Chief Godswill Akpabio.

A statement by Seledi Thompson-Wakama,Director, Corporate Affairs, NDDC,quoted Tinubua as saying that the summit with the theme: “Renewed Hope for Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta Region,” marked a turning point.

He said: “This administration brings renewed hope and prosperity and I believe this is the season we have been waiting for. It is our time to shine. To achieve lasting solutions, we must overcome disunity. Unity among the people of the Niger Delta and the entire nation is not just a choice but a necessity. Through our shared vision, we can overcome the obstacles before us.”

“Mr. President is deeply committed to the development of the Niger Delta. The East-West Road will be a priority. The National Assembly, fully represented here today, will do everything in its power to ensure the completion of this crucial road. Additionally, the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road project will not only commence from Lagos but will also start simultaneously from the Niger Delta, ensuring both ends meet to complete the project.

“The Niger Delta can sustain itself with its agricultural resources, especially in rice production and fish farming. By focusing on rice production, we can ensure that the Niger Delta not only meets its own needs but also contributes to the nation’s food supply. We should not be solely defined by our oil reserves, but also by our agricultural achievements”.

The Senate President commended NDDC Board and Management for delivering impactful projects in the Niger Delta region, citing the commissioning of the 25.7 km Ogbia-Emakalakala-Akipelai-Etiama-Nembe Road with seven bridges and the 132KV Transmission Line and I32KV/33KV electricity substation at Ode-Erinje in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State.

He noted that the NDDC also commissioned the Iko-Atabrikang-Akata-Opulom-Ikot Inwang-Okoroutip-Iwochang Road with a 800-metre Ibeno Bridge.

Akpabio said that despite the challenges of developing the Niger Delta region, the NDDC had risen to the challenge by executing projects that have improved the lives of the people. He said that President Tinubu was very pleased with the performance of the current leadership of the NDDC.

The Chairman of the occasion and former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, said that as an intervention agency for the oil producing states, the NDDC had the mandate to bring development closer to the people, to foster hope, peace and inclusive governance in the region.

He added : “NDDC came as a child of necessity whose strategic role also includes to improve the environment, provide infrastructure, and enhance the livelihood of the people in the region.With the birth of this current leadership of NDDC, people from the Niger Delta have seen some rays of light. Therefore, I encourage the political class not to over stretch the NDDC for them to be able to perform optimally.”

The Minister for Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, said that the Niger delta region must diversify to reduce the reliance on fossil oil.

He reacted to the concerns raised about the deplorable state of some sections of the East West Road, stating that the NDDC had engaged a construction firm to carry out some remedial work, in order to reduce the suffering of road users in Rivers and Bayelsa states.

Speaking earlier, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, lamented the bad condition of the East West Road and appealed to President Tinubu and the Federal Government to act swiftly to end the suffering of commuters at the Okogbe axis of the East-West Road in Rivers State.

Governor Diri, said he was stuck for more than two hours at the bad portion of the road on his way to the Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit in Port Harcourt.

The former Governor, Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, said that the stakeholders’ summit was a platform for a crucial reflection on the productivity of the populace in light of the abundance of hydrocarbons and vast gas reserves.

“However, it is imperative to prioritize the health and welfare of the people above all else. As an intervention agency, fostering collaboration with state governors is essential, and concerted efforts must be made to address the issue of abandoned projects that currently plague the region,” he said.

The NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, assured participants at the summit that their recommendations would be followed studiously to change the fortunes of the Niger Delta region.

We’ll Accelerate Niger Delta Development With N1.9trn Budget-NDDC

Mohammed Shosanya

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has said that the early approval of its 2024 budget,will assist the commission to fast track the development and socio-economic transformation of the Niger Delta region.

Its Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku,disclosed this while presenting the 2024 budget estimates of N1.9 trillion to the House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Ogbuku highlighted the success stories of the NDDC with its 2023 budget estimates, saying that a lot of progress were recorded in the region and that much was being done to complete all ongoing projects embarked upon by the Commission.

Dr Ogbuku,in a statement signed by the commission’s Corporate Affairs Director, Seledi Thompson-Wakama on Thursday, explained that in preparing the 2024 Budget, entitled “Budget of Renewed Hope”, the primary objective was to sustain robust foundation for sustainable economic development and greener future for the region.

He further stated that the proposed budget will be funded through Federal Government contribution, oil companies’ contribution, ecological fund, arrears owed NDDC by the Federal Government and recoveries by Federal Government agencies revenue brought forward, borrowings and internally realized income.

Dr Ogbuku emphasised that the NDDC had partnered the Industrial Training Fund to gainfully engage the youths of the region in reducing crime and economic sabotage.

“Investing in critical infrastructure is a key component of our fiscal strategy under the 2024 Budget Proposals. The present management has reviewed its process of intervention by adopting the Public-Private-Partnership model as a vehicle to drive sustainable development in the Niger Delta Region.

“To this end, we are in partnership with the Industrial Training Fund to gainfully engage the youths of the region to reduce crime and economic sabotage.

“We have strategically made provisions towards diversifying our sources of funding as we intend to source an aggregate sum of One trillion naira to fund on-going legacy projects of the Commission in 2024”, Ogbuku stated.

Speaking on fiscal reforms,he said: “we shall introduce new performance management frameworks to regulate the overhead cost. Accordingly, only activities that are tied to measurable programmes will be approved. We have moved away from the line-item budgeting system to sectoral allocation.

“I once again commend the 10th National Assembly’s firm commitment to stop the unnecessary circle of delayed annual budgets.

“I am confident that with our renewed partnership, the deliberations on the 2024 Budget shall be completed soon to pave way for the 2025 budget as this present Management is poised to normalize NDDC budget calendar”.

Dr Ogbuku reiterated the commission’s commitment in deepening the relationship it has with the National Assembly.

He stated: “It is a matter of recorded history that we have moved from being transactional to transformational, and transformation is practical. In this regard, we thought it has to be all encompassing, from areas of youth training, areas of supporting our entrepreneurs, areas of infrastructure and development.

“In the area of our youth training, we came up with Project HOPE to put together a proper database of the Youths and Artisans of the Niger Delta Region. It will aid us in engaging these youths in their area of competence.

“In the area of infrastructure, we came up with “Operation Light Up Niger Delta Region”, this has seen a reasonable number of the communities being lit up using solar powered street lights which have boosted the economic activities of the communities at night.

He added: “Health is wealth, and good health remains at the core of human development. The NDDC, through the free medical mission has provided health solutions to over two million Niger Deltans across communities in the Region and remains committed to working with relevant stakeholders to improve healthcare and all other critical sectors that impact positively on the overall development of the health and wellness of the people of the Region.

“In education, we have awarded foreign scholarships to 750 individuals between 2023-2024 and provided educational grants to 84 individuals. Additionally, we are distributing 45,000 Ulesson tablets preloaded with Nigerian and WAEC syllabus to schools in the 9 States in the Niger Delta region”.

He told the Federal Lawmakers that a new dawn of progress and development is emerging under the present Management of the NDDC as standards and effectiveness are being redefined in driving positive change in the region.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, Hon. Erhiateke Ibori-Seun, commended the Management Team of the Commission for the comprehensive documentation and promised accelerated legislative action on the proposed budget.

NDDC Set To Commission N84bn Projects In Niger Delta

Mohammed Shosanya

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,will in two weeks begin the commissioning of 92 infrastructure projects executed at a cost of N84 billion across the nine mandates states in the region.

The Commission’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Pius Ughakpoteni, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Saturday,explained that the projects symbolises the impact the Commission is making in changing the development narratives of the region.

The projects include;,the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road, which creates a road link to the ancient city of Nembe, for the first time in living memory. The star project also includes 9.15 km of pre-fabricated vertical drains on the swamp and seven Bridges executed at a cost of N24 billion.

According to the statement, the completed road would cut down the travel time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from three hours on dangerous water routes to a mere 45 minutes. It also opens up 14 communities for development.

The statement added that the project was executed in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and is hailed as a model in NDDC’s partnership approach to tacking the development challenges of the region.

The statement reads: “The projects include the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road, which creates a road link to the ancient city of Nembe, for the first time in living memory. The star project also includes 9.15 km of pre-fabricated vertical drains on the swamp and seven Bridges.

“Executed at a cost of N24 billion, the road cuts the travel time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from 3 hours on dangerous water routes to a mere 45 minutes. It also opens up 14 communities for development.

“The project was executed in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and is hailed as a model in NDDC’s partnership approach to tacking the development challenges of the region.

“Also slated for commissioning is the 132KV Transmission Line and I32KV/33KV Substation electrification project, executed at a cost of N8.3 billion to optimise power supply to local government areas in the southern part of Ondo State.

“The project covers the construction of 45km double circuit 33KV feeder lines from Omotosho Power Station (Hook-up point) to Okitipupa and two 30MVA, 132/33KV Injection Substations with breakers, gantry and substation automation. It also includes the construction of a 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalow as service quarters.

“The capacity of this power station is optimized with the provision of 2 x 60MVA, 132/33KV transformer and other ancillary works at Okitipupa Injection Substation, rehabilitation of 35km 33/11KV transmission from Okitipupa-Igbokoda-Ugbonla and environs and the construction of 1km rigid pavement.”

The statement further states, “The electricity project will complement the Federal Government’s effort in the power sector by improving power supply to Okitipupa, Igbokoda and other neighbouring communities in Ondo South Senatorial District with direct value chain in small and medium scale industries, job creation and consequently engender growth and development in Ondo State.

“In Akwa Ibom State, NDDC will commission the 6.87-kilometre Iko-Iwuochang road in the southern part of the state. The road project consists of two-lane single carriage way, a 600-metre bridge and side drains.

“The N10 billion virgin road project links 20 communities, hitherto separated by the Qua Iboe river.

“In Abia State, NDDC will commission the Obehie to Oke Ikpe-road reconstructed at a cost of N3.5 billion. The nine-kilometre road restores the road link between Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, through Abia (Ukwa East/West).

“It involved the reconstruction of seven kilometres of failed section of the road and the construction of three kilometres and 8 kilometres of drainage.

“Other projects include roads, electrification, a police station, health centres and school blocks.”

Politicians Squander Niger Delta Resources In UK, Dubai-Onochie


Chairman, Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission,Lauretta Onochie,has said that the money meant for development of Niger Delta was squandered in Abuja, Lagos, United Kingdom, Dubai others by people whose responsibility was to develop the region.

Onochie,who disclosed this when she addressed management and staff of the commission at its (NDDC) headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday,said the development was responsible for increased poverty in the region.

She expressed regret over the impact of the agency on the region, describing it as shameful not just to the Niger Delta region and Nigeria.

She said:”Today is a historic day. I’m not just for the people of Niger Delta, but for the women of Nigeria. And being a historic day, we have a lot of things going on today.

“Like the MD had said earlier, he has said a lot I would have said. But, let me remind us why we are here. This (NDDC) is an organization, a commission that was commissioned specifically for the people of Niger Delta. It is an interventionist agency that is supposed to bring about prosperity; it is supposed to bring development in our region.

“This organization was set up in the year 2000. And, if you go round the Niger Delta till date, there is little or nothing to show for it. NDDC has been a shame of the Niger Delta and a shame of our nation. For the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been determined to turn things around.

“As I said yesterday, at our inauguration, he (Buhari) never does things in his own interest. Everything he does, he does in the interest of Nigerians. And this board you see here represents that interest. We are here to reposition NDDC. We are here to serve people of the Niger Delta and by extension people of Nigeria. We are here to do things differently.”

Earlier, the new Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the commission, Samuel Ogbuku, said it was an auspicious day, which witnessed official handing over from outgoing managing director to the successor.

“We are not here like one party handing over from one party. We are not here to fight anybody. We are all people from Niger Delta. I want all of you to be rest assured that, based on your competence, you are going to be working with this administration. We are definitely not going to look at mediocrity. Everything has be based on your competence. If you show ingenuity, you have a chance to work with us.”

He assured that a enabling working environment would be provided for the staff for them to demonstrate their ingenuity, because they were carriers of stigmatization.

He added:”Out there, everybody believes that NDDC has failed. So, you are stigmatized to the part of the failure. I am saying what people out there are saying. It may not be fact, it could just be an assumption. But, the staff work here seems to have some level of stigmatization. I don’t blame you; may be, you have not been given the enabling environment”.

Reply, Reply All or Forward

Bayelsa Community Shuts Conoil’s Facility Over Breach Of MOU

Koluama community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State Friday closed the Ango 2 Oilfield operated by the Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited for its alleged failure to implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the company signed with them.

The embattled protesters comprising elders, men, women and youths, stormed the oil facility carrying placards with different inscriptions like, “No MoU, No Crude Oil Exploration”; “ConOil Pack And Go, We Are Tired Of Suffering”; and “Koluama People Are Suffering”.

The chairman of Koluama Oil and Gas Committee, Jonathan Amabebe, said they were fed up with Conoil and that it should stop operations in their environment.

According to him, the oil company reportedly failed to implement the agreement which contained social obligations to be carried out for the host communities.

He states their demands as clean-up of oil-spill impacted sites around the various communities and medical outreach to solve health challenges of the people.

He said other demands include issuance of employment letter to a qualified member of the community, who was successful in Conoil’s recruitment exercise in 2015, and award of contract across the five host communities of Koluama clan namely, Tamazo, Koluama 1, Koluama 2, Olobia and Kalaweiama as captured in the MoU.

Speaking, Technical Assistant to the Bayelsa State Government’s Special Adviser on Oil and Gas, Tare Ekubo, blamed Conoil for the action of the community,adding that the indigenous oil company allegedly refused to implement the MoU and decisions reached at meetings despite warnings from the community, interventions by government, and letters sent to it to prevent any breach and break down of relationship.

He promised that the government would engage the oil firm and the aggrieved people of Koluama with a view to resolving the problems.

Bayelsa SSG’s Mom Regains Freedom

Kidnapped 80-year-old mother of Bayelsa SSG regains freedom after 32 days  in captivity
Madam Betinah Benson, the kidnapped  mother of the Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government (SSG), Mr Konbowei Benson, has been freed
She was brought home to her Old Assembly Quarters residence in Yenagoa on Sunday evening,according to a witness .
The octogenarian was kidnapped from the same residence on July 20 by gunmen who were dressed in military camouflage. She spent 33 days in their custody.
The kidnappers had on August 5 reportedly contacted Madam Benson’s family and demanded N500m ransom to set her free.
The SSG confirmed his mother’s release on his  on Sunday evening.
“Thanks to the Almighty God, my sweet mother is back to Yenagoa,”he said.
The Police Public  Relations Officer, Bayelsa Command, SP Asinim Butswat,also confirmed the release of Benson’s mother,saying : “Yes, she was rescued this (Sunday) evening but awaiting details from the team.”
FG  Plotting To Sweep NDDC Audit Report Under Carpet-Group

Final forensic audit report of NDDC ready by July—Akpabio - Vanguard News
Social Action ,a non-governmental organization,has  raised alarm over deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to sweep the forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the carpet.
The group hinged its claim on the failure if the Minister of Niger Delta,Godswill Akpabio to release the report after confirming receipt of same.
It recalled that following a public outcry over the monumental level of corruption exposed by the Senate Ad-Hoc committee on NDDC in October 2020 President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a forensic audit of the financial records of the Commission.
This was preceded by several reports of unprecedented and monumental corruption manifesting in extensive contract frauds, Procurement law infractions, non-budgetary and extra-budgetary spending, audit violations, cronyism, fiscal recklessness and flagrant disregard to procedural rules as well as other financial malpractices levelled against the management of NDDC.
It said:”The commission has failed to meet the needs and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta. Rather than promoting the region’s development agenda in line with its mandate, the NDDC has become a cesspool of corruption for which many of its past and present leaders have not only been complicit, but have been indicted (in both past and present probes and investigations). These heavily weighted malfeasances are all in the open before citizens of Nigeria we, therefore, see no reasons why the outcome of the report should be locked in secrecy.
“With the forensic audit completed, it is the hope of Nigerians and the Niger Delta people that probity will be restored to the commission and that it will be re-positioned for efficiency. However, as an organization committed to ensuring accountability and transparency in governance, we are concerned about the bureaucratic procedure around the submission of the report which may further delay the report from being made public and its recommendations being implemented.  We hereby call on the president to promptly implement the recommendations of the audit report and anyone found wanting be prosecuted with immediate effect.
” The Ministry of Niger Delta affairs should also be mandated to make the forensic audit report available to the public as soon as possible. This will help build trust in the government and restore citizens’ confidence in the governance process.  Doing this will dispel any trepidation of any attempt to cover-up the sins of some considered to be in high places or any plans to present a watered-down version of the report”
It   implored President Muhammadu Buhari to release the forensic audit report report recently submitted to the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC)
The group said  NDDC is a public institution, adding that every document relating to it should be made public including the forensic audit report.
It said availing this document to the public will establish a concrete  proof that the current government has zero tolerance for corruption.
It added:”We call on the government to interrogate the forensic report with the view to bringing about the needed sanity into the commission by implementing its recommendations to the full”.
612 Ghost Workers On Payrolls Of  Bayelsa Primary Schools 

Panel uncovers 612 'ghost' workers in Bayelsa primary schools - Punch  Newspapers
The Bayelsa State Government,has uncovered  612 ghost workers in primary schools in the state,according to the chairman, Committee on the Review of Grade Levels and Steps of Local Government and Primary School Staff, Timipre Seipulou.
He  disclosed this while submitting the committee’s report to Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo in Government House, Yenagoa, on Monday,a statement said.
Seipulou was quoted in a statement as saying that the 33-member committee, which was inaugurated in April 2021, reviewed a total of 14,258 cases in the various local government areas.
According to him,the figure comprises  7,207 primary school teachers, 5,893 council staff and 1,189 health workers.
Seipulou said, “The committee conducted a staff verification exercise using the March 2021 payroll as a template and discovered some anomalies. The committee observed that out of the 7,207 primary school staff, 612 were confirmed by headmasters as ghost workers in their schools.”
He further said that 573 staff were not in the payrolls but were said to be physically present in the schools, while the names of 10 dead and 13 retired staff were found in the payrolls.
Seipulou, who is also the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Revenues and Accounts, said the committee equally observed irregular progressions across board, improper updating of files and indiscriminate award of special promotions, among other irregularities.
According to him, the committee’s recommendations include the setting up of a special team to review cases of staff who appear in the payrolls but are not in schools as well as removal of dead and retired staff from the wage bill.
He said the committee also advised government to use the April 2021 payrolls, grade levels and steps report as a basis to conduct  physical verification of all staff with an Oracle Team on ground to capture the biometrics of the workers during the verification exercise.
Seipulou said “the government should review the issue of health workers conversion from the consolidated public service salary structure (CONPSS) to consolidated health salary structure (CONHESS)” and correct cases of staff who go to work but whose names are not in the payrolls.