The committee set up to verify workers without Bank Verification Number , BVN, in Bauchi State, said it uncovered no fewer that 596 dead workers still collecting salaries and allowances.

The panel was set up by Governor Bala Mohammed following the alarm raised by the government that it had identified over 41,448 on the government payroll without the compulsory BVN.

Addressing journalists in Bauch, the chairman of the 17-man committee, Mr. Adamu Gumba, said during the assignment, which took some three months, 4,578 people failed to appear before the committee to be verified.

“In the process of this exercise, we discovered that 596 deceased officers are on the government payroll.

“However, we have recommended to the state governor that their names should be removed from pension and the state payroll,” he said.

He also said the committee discovered that 30,276 workers were without BVN contrary to the initial figure of 41,448 suspected by the state government before the committee was set up.

“Out of the 30,276 people suspected to be without BVN, 24,736 people have been verified and cleared by the committee and their salaries and pensions will be paid.

“However, despite the extension of time given to the officers to come for the exercise, 4,578 consisting of both staff and pensioners still refused to show up.

“Those that decided not to appear, we may not know, but clearly, they are suspects of ghost workers,” he said.

However, he said those who refused to turn up “may have another chance to be verified by the implementation committee to be set up; but to me, they are suspects and everything must be done to identify them.”

He said if the entire 130,000 workers in the state and local governments as well as pensioners would be verified, ghost workers would be discovered because “if we can uncover ghost workers from the 30,226 verified, how much more will be discovered if the entire number was verified?”

Gumba said the exercise was done in two segments and people who were verified and cleared in each segment were recommended for payment of their October, November and December salaries and pensions.

He revealed that the committee also presented the third segment to the state governor who had approved the payment of the salaries and pensions to the people cleared.