Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finding people who aren't there

Why is it that nobody collects the garbage in Lagos or fills the potholes in Kano?

How can there not be a driver for the city bus in Abuja?

More than half the Nigerians who are not farmers work for one level of the government or another.

Oh, that's right, some of them haven't learned to walk yet.

Newborn 'ghost worker' puts corruption under spotlight in Nigeria
A newborn baby in Nigeria was added to a government payroll, earning about $150 (£93) a month for two or three years, highlighting the widespread corruption starving the oil-rich country of funds, authorities said.

The baby was one of many so-called "ghost workers" found to be getting salaries without performing a job, said Garba Gajam, attorney general of Zamfara state in Nigeria's impoverished north-west.

The employee was listed as being a month old in government records, but Gajam said the child's father actually started collecting the salary before the baby was born. Records also show that the baby has a diploma…

"There is no state in Nigeria that doesn't have ghost workers," says Thompson Ayodele, director of Initiative for Public Policy Analysis in Lagos. "In this case, at least the baby is alive, what about the thousands of ghost workers who don't even exist?"

Ghost workers collect salaries and eventually qualify for pensions as well. The money is paid into the accounts of the people who created the identities…

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