Shola Oyeyipo
Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, yesterday demanded the immediate release of the identities of the 11 officers fingered in the 50,000 ghost workers scandal.

Making the call in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere noted that by so doing, government would remove the fear that there is a grand conspiracy to cover up the crime.

“The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the recent revelation by the federal government that over 50,000 ghost workers have been “retrenched” from the public service of the federation and that the country lost about N143billion as payments to these ghosts while they were in the employment of the federal government.

“And as to the action the government has taken on the matter; we were told that the names of the 11 civil servants who masterminded the act have been sent to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

“We are alarmed that the 11 civil servants who committed this crime have been granted anonymity as the government has shielded their identities from the public.

“Yet this is the same country where politicians have been detained and charged to court over amount that pales in significance compared to the N143billion involved here,” he argued.

The body frowned at the cover up, saying it is “This kind of impunity that has made iniquity to fester in Nigeria as there is no example to show that crime does not pay.

“About four years ago, former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, told us that over 40,000 ghost workers were eliminated from the federal service with no one prosecuted for the act. This must have encouraged the gang to increase their recruitment.

“In the same vein, we take notice of recent report that all the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance who were fingered in the 2016 budget padding scandal have been posted to the cash office of the Ministry. We dont want to conclude that this is a promotion yet.”

Afenifere reiterated it sustained call for the need to restructure Nigeria as a way to finding lasting solution to the problem of widespread corruption.

“This scam has again raised the need to restructure Nigeria as the concentration of too much resources at the centre is one of the major incentives for corruption,” it stated.