Friday, 28 October 2011

Hallowe’en Special!

As we are approaching a ghostly time of year with the possibility of strange phenomena occurring along Old Cemetry Road (Yes, I know you don’t spell it like that really, but they do here!), I thought I would describe what I know about ‘ghost workers’ in Nigeria – I haven’t found a picture of one or even any ectoplasm but according to our neighbour they really exist!

In a recent army pensioners audit they found MORE than 24,000 ghost pensioners . A Minister said that August salary and pensions would be paid to staff  through a pay  parade, and that whoever refuses to show up in person would be considered a"ghost worker."

Following a manpower verification exercise conducted by the Federal Government, personnel in the employ of the government were found to be 215,000 not the 255,000 which were in the official records. This leaves a difference of 40,000 names, which in all likelihood, are non-existent. The Lagos State government has similarly announced the discovery of 4,000 ghosts in its "employ".

No wonder a minister once estimated that ghost workers may be costing Nigeria as much as £21 million ( N7 billion ) per month - or N84 billion annually !

Imagine how many teachers or medical workers you could properly employ with that, or how many km of roads you could rebuild!

I don't know whether any one of you  would want to  run your own home and be paying a ghost worker as well; neither can I imagine you would want to run your own private business and be paying  extra ghost workers! In fact, you would be happy for those to be "workers," and yet be "ghosts", because ghosts don't need food, and hence don't need  to be paid!

But not in Nigeria: "ghosts" even seem to need more housing and food than humans. At the rate we are going, there may be more ghost workers than human workers in Nigeria. And those ghosts may also soon have their benefits "monetized" - including their housing allowances, despite the fact that ghosts live in "Iroko" and a few other kinds of trees, according to Yoruba traditional beliefs.

It would be putting something back into the system, 'abi?',  if all the ghosts that may be considering making an appearance this Halloween, actually did some work for once – they could clean up the old ‘cemetry’ for a start – charity beginning at home? (Especially as this weekend .there is the monthly Environment Day.) And then perhaps they could give our guards a break and become ghost-vigilantes for the night – and scare the sh** out of any night prowlers - they'd get my vote, providing they didn't want paying!

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