Commission, unions disagree over staff biometrics in Bayelsa

The Bayelsa State Local Government Service Commission on Monday disagreed with the National Union of Local Government Employees and Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Bayelsa State chapters, on staff biometrics.

NULGE and MHWUN described the biometric exercise as a waste, saying the eight local governments in the state had lost over N200m to power the exercise in six months.

President of NULGE, Mr. Akpos Ekiagha and the State Chairman of MHWUN, Mr. Biu Josiah, during an emergency meeting faulted the use of consultant to prepare payrolls for the LGs, stressing that the development had rendered staff of the Account Departments redundant, while the consultant laughed to the bank with over N40m per month.

They, therefore, asked Dickson to terminate the contract of the consultant, alleging that the services of the consultant were fraudulent and a conduit for draining the state’s resources.

They also called on Governor Seriake Dickson to remove the Chairman of LGSC, Mr. Talford Ongolo, over alleged high-handedness and insensitivity to the plight of council workers.

They said, “The clock-in-and-clock-out aspect of the biometric exercise has not yielded the desired result because the claim by Ongolo and the consultant that over N90m was realized was a ruse.

“Their claims did not take into consideration of workers who were on secondments, leave of absence, annual leave, death, security guards, maternity leave and study leave. The exercise only  ended up defrauding the local governments.” They claimed that junior staff of the LGAs had not been promoted for seven years, saying the development had been creating tension in the system.

But the commission chairman, Talford Ongolo, said the biometric exercise had exposed the rot in the LG system. He said the clock-in-and-clock-out system had significantly led to the reorientation of workers attitude, adding that before then, majority of the LG workers were paying lip service to their work.

He said, “The biometric arrangement has been made before I became the chairman of the commission. The consultant is a distingushed senator. Consulting for the state is out of genuine desire to help the state to correct the anomalies in the system. “Before the staff biometric was introduced, people were perpetrating large scale payroll frauds. Imagine some workers then were having between 40 and 50 different names in the payroll. As a result, one worker, for instance, would be receiving the salaries of 50 persons. It was that bad. But with the exercise, the government has been able to save millions of naira being paid to ghost workers.

“Those calling for my removal are not sincere with themselves. They know that it is no longer business as usual that is why they are engaging in campaign of calumny. The commission is prosecuting a reform agenda of the government. I believe the governor and his deputy have the best interest of the workers at heart. By the LG reform, they are changing the values of our people. I am passionate about the reform.”

Source:Punch News


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