…Public call for forensic audit.
by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
About 60 million naira outstanding salaries and arrears of the 13 local government councils of Nasarawa state is being owed by state government.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the gratuity of retirees alone in the state is about N42 billion, while salary arrears stood at N20 billion.
Data collected shows that substantial number of the pensioners died of heart attacks and other related ailments due to the non-payment of their pension and gratuity.
The wage bill of staff remained stagnant even as there is daily and monthly retirement of workers within the government payroll by age or years of service, and yet salaries continue to go higher.
Some workers in the state indicated their feelings that, there was the need for Governor Abdullahi Sule to embark on holistic forensic audit of staff of the local government councils as a step to block leakages.
They are not satisfied with the ideas of engagement of external auditors outside the state to carry out such tasks, which at the end would cost government not less than N300,000 for the exercise.
A stakeholder, who was one of the people that struggled for the creation of the state, Mr. John Adamu Auta, advised government of the day to commence the process of recruiting new staff.
He said, this has to be done urgently to avoid crash or short of civil servant in the next two years coming; hence the need for recruitment to inject fresh blood in the service of the state.
According to him, by the time youths are engaged in meaningful ventures, banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping and other crimes will not see the light of the day across the state.
In his comment, the state Commissioner of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Comrade Aliyu Turaki, expressed displeasure with what was going on at the local government level.
He said, they are mapping out strategies to commence a forensic audit of all the local government councils in the state.
According to him, “I am aware that the state government is thinking towards same direction; that will not also stop us from carrying out this exercise with a view to ascertain the level of corrupt tendencies in our system.”
Also, the state chairman of ALGON, who doubles as chairman of Lafia Local Government Area, Alhaji Aminu Mu’azu Maifata, supported the idea of forensic audit across the 13 councils.