By Adeola Aderounmu
When people are employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, their names are published in what is known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette. Promotions and other relevant information about civil service and civil servants are also published from time to time in the official gazette.
Unfortunately the average Nigerian workers have been reduced to slaves or sub-human beings by the way things are done in Nigeria. In Nigeria, there is something called verification and auditing exercises at the various government institutes/ministries.
In my opinion I think this is one of the several loop holes and financial leakages in Nigeria. Nigeria is among the most corrupt countries in the world because the various governments in Nigeria are very corrupt. The people who run things in Nigeria are unbelievably corrupt and impunity is almost universal in Nigeria.
What corrupt politicians and private/public servants in Nigeria have failed to understand over the years is that every act of corruption adds to the gigantic sum in figures and effects that makes Nigeria probably the most corrupt country in the world and the place where some of the poorest people live.
What is the meaning of verification /auditing exercise in Nigeria? It means that some unscrupulous individuals collude with the Central Bank or the economic departments of their various ministries and allocate millions of naira to take a tour of the various federal ministries spread across Nigeria.
In the process they send thousands of government workers especially the junior staff members into unnecessary panic. Some workers who are on annual leave (for the first time in donkey years) are forced to call off their leave/holiday even if they have travelled abroad. If they don’t report back to the office, their salaries will be stopped (and someone will be embezzling the salaries!).
Some workers who are not able to appear during the verification/auditing saga have to pay thousands of naira as bribes to their immediate bosses (or the directors as they are called in the civil service) and also to the verification officials from Abuja in order to have their salaries reactivated whenever they are back to their respective posts.
This situation is very similar to pension verification. How can somebody work for the Nigerian government for 34 or 35 years and still be made to go through physical verification? This is an issue of corruption and moral decadence across all strata in Nigeria. It is scandalous, disgraceful and shameful. It speaks volume about the mental cognitive-ness of the rulers and occupiers of Nigeria.
If the people who run the civil service in Nigeria are normal, mentally alert, upright and fit for their jobs then they will never ask a man or woman who worked in the same office/department for 35 years to be verified.
There are instances where people are brought to government offices on hospital beds with dangling nutritional drips attached. During verification, people collapse, faint and even die waiting to be attended to by the “gods” from Abuja. In extreme cases people are summoned to appear in Abuja irrespective of their ages or health statuses. This is wickedness and inhuman.
The bosses at the various federal ministries and auditing committee from Abuja are very well aware of the ghost, ex-employees and dead workers on the payroll of government but they don’t talk about that. In connivance with the various economy departments of the federal ministries, they continue to embezzle the salaries of dead and ghost workers. The spread and intensity of corruption in Nigeria is out of this world.
In a normal country, dead workers don’t receive monthly salaries. Ex-employees are removed from the pay roll. In Nigeria, dead workers, ex-employees and imaginary workers (aka ghost workers) are used by top government officials and their accomplices to embezzle funds.
The situation is made complicated by citizens of Northern Nigeria who are registered into jobs or enrolled into government payroll from birth. Invariably in places like Northern Nigeria where education is almost absent, ghost and imaginary workers are created when babies are born. Who is collecting all these monies? What type of country is Nigeria really?
These offences usually go unpunished because it is made a normal thing and the crimes are covered up by the people who know about it and who share the money from the illegalities.
In Nigeria, trust is alien. In the 21st century a gang travels around Nigeria doing verification and auditing. What happened to the official gazette as the record of government? That is a document that is available in print and most definitely in soft copy that could be used to verify government workers. The gazette is probably not reliable because of the falsification in the various federal government offices. Who is going to punish who when everybody has a criminal tendency? Do you have to travel across Nigeria to do auditing? What happened to computing, accounting and technological advancements?
The severe decadence in Nigeria is revealed in many ways. It is appalling and saddening. It is absolutely impossible to explain how widespread this madness has gone. In Nigeria, everybody knows that there are ghost workers. This means that the economy department in every government ministry is occupied by one or more criminals. This means that the bosses or directors in these ministries are criminals.
It is these criminalities and embezzlements that the auditing and verification officials want to partake in. That is why they fly around Nigeria with huge sums allocated to them. Yet they make additional money on ground through bribes and kickbacks.
These are common practices in Nigeria. The ordinary workers will not talk about these things because they will be killed or booted out of service mysteriously. Do or die is widespread in Nigeria. I wish to reiterate that in Nigeria the people who are not corrupt are becoming endangered species.
It is easy for these criminal activities to be perpetrated because it is generally assumed that everybody is corrupt in Nigeria. When the rulers of Nigeria, their families and friends can use Nigeria’s monies for whatever they want without being prosecuted when in office and after leaving office, then people down the ladder also have their own ways of getting away with crimes and other atrocities.
In top government positions, especially political placements-it is assumed that you get fired or prosecuted when you are out of favour. If you are in any vocal opposition groups, you will be dealt with to send a signal to others like you. The EFCC and the ICPC are willing agents to these anomalies. In an ideal world, it would not matter your position or ideology, you will suffer for your crimes as immunity does not cover your evil, mental status and criminal tendencies.
In Nigeria, people are promoted based on how much they steal or how much they bring back to their bosses. It is in Nigeria that criminals experience elevation especially in political offices. Nigerian politicians are known as common looters of the treasury. Nigeria under a unitary form of government is not working. All indices show us that Nigeria will not work under this useless form of governance because there is no limit to how corrupt people can become.
I don’t mind to stand alone to state without fear that Nigeria is the most corrupt country in the world. In my eyes criminals rule in Nigeria right from Aso rock to the lowest level of office somewhere in Maiduguri, Igbogila, Abakaliki or Badagry.
In Nigeria, people walk away with contract funds without doing any work. People kill and go! The judicial system in Nigeria is ridicule to the international law system. What kind of law is practised in Nigeria that makes criminals the freest, loudest and most visible people?
For the Federal Civil Service and by extension the various civil service commissions at the state levels, there is an urgent need to clean up the system. The questions are many though.
Who will punish the cartel stealing through the use of ghost workers and dead employees? When these ghost workers are discovered and reported, who is responsible for their retention or re-emergence on the payrolls? Who will stop the registration of babies as government workers in Northern Nigerian?
In a system where everybody is assumed to be corrupt, who is going to ensure that verification and auditing exercises are done remotely from Abuja? How can criminals be detected without sending out verification officers who turn out to be bribe takers?
Who will ensure that a Nigerian worker on level 12 is paid his/her salary as a level 12 officer and not as a level 9 officer? Who is stealing the balance of the salary shortage? It is pure madness and wickedness to keep paying workers incorrect salaries while politicians and top officials embezzle money freely and get huge wages on top of their lootings. When will all these anomalies end? Who will save Nigeria?
One question or suggestion will lead to thousands of questions and other suggestions because Nigeria is running a worthless system of government that creates a million loop holes. The beneficiaries and custodians of this useless system don’t want a change and everybody thinks that their turn to “chop” will come. This is the absurd mentality which when added to other aberrations makes Nigeria one of the worst places to live on earth.
Some government workers boast of how much cash they share in their offices. This is common in Abuja. All the monies that should be used wisely after budget allocations end up in people’s pocket and they start to boast of how much they share in their respective offices weekly/monthly to top their salaries. Abuja is promoting massive corruption and a lifestyle built on lies, deceits and looting.
Many of the things that happen in Nigeria are abnormal. Many people don’t know these things are abnormal. Many people also think it is alright because that is all they have seen or known all their lives-a nonsensical system where the law is almost useless. The laws of Nigeria, the Police in Nigeria and the courts in Nigeria are made for the further oppression of the oppressed and downtrodden.
A few people in government and in private establishment travel abroad regularly and return to Nigeria with the same slogan-“Nigeria is better than abroad”. They say these things to continue to keep their fellow citizens in bondage and everlasting physical darkness.
There is no magical dose that will solve Nigeria’s problems. If the right things are done today, Nigeria may need another 50 to 100 years to become a normal country. Remarkable things can happen in a decade though. Still and sadly the politicians are not willing to start the recovery plan because of their immediate gains, stupidities and their perception of Nigeria as an investment to be plunged and drained for their selfish interest and their children’s future. Who about the rest of us?
Only the ordinary people of Nigeria can save themselves from the vultures in Aso rock and across Nigeria. The unitary system of government brought this mess that continues to enrich a few and enslave the rest. People must demand for a change and the means to achieve that change must be pursued.
Rather than politics as usual, ordinary Nigerians need to be awaken to the benefits of true federalism or regional governments. There will be no magic dose to the problems of Nigeria but the way things are now, even with the emergence of a new mega political party (old wine in new skin), a violent collapse of Nigeria predicted to happen in 2015 will be a worse option.
(To be continued)