Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Fear is currently reigning supreme among some staffers of the Enugu State local government councils as there is a veiled indication that the state government may lay off some workers.
This is because many of the local government workers did not get the code that would enable them participate in the ongoing online and physical verification exercise.
The failure to log into the portal to complete the verification form means that anything could happen to their means of livelihood hence many have developed goose pimples that they could be shown the way out prematurely.
The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, in conjunction with the Local Government Staff Verification Committee had directed that all members of staff must get their verification code from their respective local government payroll Officers to participate in the exercise.
The SSG and his team further directed that they should visit the government website to complete the online verification form with their details.
Unfortunately, many of the workers did not get the code a day before the portal was closed on January 18, 2024.
Some of them could not even get their code at all till the end of the close of the portal, an indication that if nothing is done, they could be termed as “ghost workers.”
Investigation shows that whereas those that got the code late could not access the portal as well as those that did not see their names at all, the verification has continued in earnest with the committee visiting some local government councils for physical exercise.
It was gathered that those caught in the web of not getting the code for the online verification are now in a quandary as to what would be their fate.
One of the affected staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “This is the way some staffers of the state civil service were sacked during the administration of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.
“We are afraid that they might lay us off as ghost workers if eventually we were not allowed to participate in the exercise.
“This thing is like a joke and my prayer is that they should not capitalise on this and sack those of us that could not access the portal before January 18.
“I heard that the state government is serious about the exercise and this could be the way they want to lay some people off.”
However, an insider from the Local Government Service Commission disclosed that the affected staffers have been directed to submit their names to their payroll officers.
He said: “This may not be the end of the road for them. Those affected have been asked to fill forms with their payroll officers. Their case could be visited. They should not fear.”
Speaking on the matter, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Okey Ogbodo, said that the exercise was normal.
According to him, it was meant to ascertain the real council staff.
He also said that the exercise was still ongoing, adding that there was still hope for the affected staffers.