Pension Payments: Borno Adopts Biometrics Data Capture

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state has raised a biometric data
capture panel on pensioners’ documentation and pension payments for
retired workers.

The panel has two weeks to submit its report to the Governor for implementation.
Inaugurating the committee on Thursday at the Government House,
Maiduguri, Shettima said that the panel headed by Alhaji Yerima Saleh,
the ex-Head of Service (HoS), is to overcome the problems of
pensioners’ documentation and payments.

He said that even though 9,000 pensioners were cleared by Workers
Biometrics Committee (WBC), 500 pensioners have pending cases that
withheld payments of their pensions.

According to him, the panel has representatives of stakeholders,
including National Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mohammed Abdullahi, Ali
Grema and Mai Bukar Galtimari.

His words: “You’re to ensure that pensioners, whose biometric data and
other documentation are cleared to commence payments of their
pensions.

“Most of the pensioners had been collecting their pension, after
undergoing the workers’ biometric data capture exercise since 2016.”
He said the inauguration of the panel, followed concerns of a group
pensioners; ‎who protested on Thursday at Musa Usman secretariat
complex over non-payments of their pensions.

Shettima explained that the bio-metrics had been complex; because some
persons benefited from all kinds of fraudulent activities ‎through
pension payments.

“They were determined to frustrate the exercise by employing various
tricks to siphon public fund,” he lamented.

He said the biometric committee; had identified ghost pensioners,
adding that some persons had been collected millions of naira as
pensions along with collection of monthly salaries.

Shettima attributed the simultaneous collection of pension and
salaries to “poor payments system” that allowed fraudulent activities
in workers’ salary and pension payments.

He further disclosed that over 9,000 pensioners have already been
cleared and captured in the biometric exercise with their regular
pension payments.

He noted that only 500 pensioners had cases with their bio-metrics
data capture, including 53 pensioners, who could not provide their
Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and bank statements.
On pensioners’ protests, he said: “One hundred and seventy one
pensioners were cleared by the workers’ biometric data capture
committee.

“But they failed to present their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and
bank statements as part of the requirements for submission to the
biometric data capture committee.

He also directed that the 300 pensioners that are yet to be captured,
be cleared and documented by the committee within two weeks.
While defending the workers biometric data capture, Shettima said:
“Over 33,000 workers were on the payrolls of Borno state government
for many years. This has resulted into government to pay over N2.5
billion monthly salary bills.

“After conducting workers’ bio-metrics capture, the number of genuine
workers dropped to 20,154 out which 2,000 are about to retire from the
civil service.”

He said the biometric exercise has already identified about 12,000
ghost workers.

According to him, the exercise has saved N600 million on monthly wage
bill of state government.

He pledged that the saved monies from ghost workers; are to be
re-allocated to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),
while government is to engage 1,000 teachers and other administrative
staff into State’s Civil Service.

He said with this development; the embargo on employment has been
lifted, which was in existence since the early 90’s.
The protesting pensioners told the Governor that they were ignorant of
issues of workers biometric data capture exercise.

They pledged to abide with biometric data capture requirements for
documentation into the National Union of Pensioners (NUP).

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