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I was deceived on Cross River staff strength, Gov Otu cries out

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I was deceived on Cross River staff strength, Gov Otu cries out

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Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu, on Wednesday, raised the alarm that he was misled into believing that over 40 percent of the state’s work force had retired.

Governor Otu, who spoke when he received the organised labour in his office, expressed shock at the increase in the nominal roll after being briefed that population of civil servants had drastically reduced.

He said, “When I assumed office, I was informed that so many persons had retired, but when I now looked at the payroll, I saw even more staff than last month. I was wondering if so many have retired as recorded, why we should now have such a humongous number in the payroll with an attendant huge wage bill?”

The Governor, in a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche, and made available to newsmen, said his administration will employ the services of the Department of State Services to audit personnel in its payroll system and produce a holistic nominal roll for both the state and local government.

According to him, the exercise which will be conducted by the security agency will help to forestall all forms of irregularities noticed in the staff payroll system across board.

Otu added, “We have resolved that everybody should go to the Department of State Services for verification and screening so that if your paper has some issues, from there you can go to court.

“That will be the best for us because the exercise will ensure that biometrics and other necessary screening requirements are conducted to check all forms of irregularities and abnormalities in line with relevant civil service rules and labour laws. In the end, we will know the actual staff strength of Cross River.

“Personnel audit has been a little bit of a tricky area. So, we need to put our heads together to produce a holistic payroll system, and I strongly solicit your maximum cooperation.”

Regarding employment, Governor Otu said, “We are currently looking at the gap analysis which is why we had to suspend all forms of employment so that in the end government will only employ based on needs because with our scarce resources, we must spend judiciously.”

Earlier, the organized labour in a 21-point position paper signed by the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Olayi Gregory, advised Governor Otu to reduce the cost of governance by cutting down on unnecessary wastages.

The labour leader also appealed to the Governor to consider promotion of teachers to Grade Level 17 as it is obtainable in the Federal service in order to boost their morale.