…Says There Are 180 Ghost Workers In The Commission
A group of youths from the oil producing communities of Imo State under the aegis of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta Patriotic Youths Forum has called on the Managing Director of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC), Engr. Anthony Okwuosha, not to bow to pressure from certain groups, interests and persons in the Commission but to ensure that the right thing is done by going ahead to implement the report of an internal staff audit the Commission carried out recently. The group said: “We urge the new management of ISOPADEC to do all they can to cleanse the Commission, and to revert it to the ideals of its establishment twelve years ago.
In a press release by the Chairman of the youth body, Dr. Kelechi Eze, the group surmised that they are “aware of clandestine efforts to stifle the implementation of the report by certain groups, persons and interests in the Commission”, adding that the Commission does not belong to those who are staff of the Commission only, but also belongs to those who are not working at the Commission, or who have got no job to do at all”.
The group said: “We cannot condone a situation where people take jobs they cannot do, or a situation where people stay overseas and take salaries for work they did not do, whereas there are countless number of youths roaming the streets for lack of job opportunities. People who do not want to work should give way for those who want to work”.
The Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta youths said that they had noted with serious concern the goings-on in the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) since the birth of the new management and board of the Commission on July 4, 2019 after their inauguration by the Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. As patriotic youths of the two oil producing local governments we heaved a sigh of relief when the Governor, in wanting to unravel what transpired in the Commission for the period between May 2011 and May 2019, inaugurated a probe panel for the Commission.
They added they were worried that while the probe panel was still doing its job and yet to submit a report to the Governor, news emerged in the press that the Commission and the panel were primed to sacking the workers on the mere condition of over staffing and lack of fund to pay the salaries of the Commission. We also took cognizance of the responses and assurances of the management that it was not primed to sacking the workers.
“Knowing what politics is and how it is sometimes played in our state, we decided to delve into the matter with a view to quietly investigating the issues, to ascertain the veracity of the fears of sack, or otherwise. It took us more than two months of inquiry, but we are glad that our efforts paid off.
“On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, we stumbled upon a document from a staff of ISOPADEC who pleaded with us not to mention his name. We took our time to study the document and we felt sad that ISOPADEC had deviated from the ideals of its establishment. The document had to do with an internal report of the Commission which has opened up a can of warms. The document which reviewed staff attendance and other issues covered a period of three months, from July to September 2019”, they said.
They youths noted that “the total number of staff of ISOPADEC is three hundred and twenty (320), but out of this figure, about two hundred and eighty-two (282) workers registered attendance to work, representing about 86%. 188 workers of the Commission, amounting to about 58% of the workers, also registered attendance to work for two weeks.
“The document further reveal that in July 2019, 85 workers registered attendance to work to work for 10 days and below, 40 workers did not register attendance to work at all, while 197 workers registered attendance to work for 11 days and above. In August, 246 (about 74%) of the workers registered attendance to work. Those who registered attendance to work for at least two weeks in August reduced to 157 workers, or 49%, while about 78 persons did not come to work at all for the period. 95 workers came to work for 10 days and below, 57 workers did not come to work at all, while 156 workers came to work for 11 days and above. In September, 220 workers, representing 70%, came to work for at least once, while 148 workers or 46% of the workers recorded attendance for at least two weeks.
“A total of 98 workers were absent for the month. In September also, 81 workers came to work for 10 days and below, 70 workers did not come to work at all while 150 came to work for 11 days and above. There were incidences of workers forging signatures of their colleagues in a bid to cover up for their colleagues or relations who absconded from work. There were indications that certain people were working elsewhere and draw salaries from ISOPADEC while their colleagues sign the attendance for them. There were those who are said to be overseas but they draw salaries from the Commission”.
The youths said that the situation was worse at the two liaison offices of the Commission. “In the liaison offices at Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta local government areas of the state, the attendance book was messier and proved unreliable. There were indications of workers forging attendance and some entering attendance at the office in Owerri and the liaison offices the same days.
“In all, the document showed that out of a total number of 320 workers, the actual number of workers may be less than 160 workers. It also shows that workers of the Commission are of the habit of just writing their names in the attendance book and disappear. Also, there might be over 180 ghost workers in the Commission, out of its 320 workers”.