By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, yesterday lamented what he described as the ‘massive rot’ that pervaded the state civil service when he took over, assuring that he will continue to block the leakages to reduce the challenges likely to be faced by the next government.
In a chat with journalists at the Government House in Yenagoa, the governor said many people in the civil service were in the habit of collecting salaries from at least three different sources every month.
He added that the effort of the government had already reduced the wage bill from close to N5 billion to just a little over N3.5 billion, insisting that in the next few weeks, the public service should be ready for a new round of cleansing.
According to the governor, if the state is to make progress, it must stop servicing fraudulent activities in all its ministries, agencies as well as its parastatals, stressing that the huge burden left by previous governments must not be allowed to continue.
“The payroll in Bayelsa is like Nigeria’s voter register. Even children, you find them there. Nobody retires, nobody dies. We are happy that nobody in Bayelsa civil service dies, but that is the truth.
“Bayelsa people must stop blaming the wrong people. If our allocation is down , do you expect local governments to steal money to pay your fraudulent salaries?
“Or should I stop everything I am doing and be paying fraudulent salaries? In the primary education system, there is monumental rot in our schools. This is the only state where you have a primary school with only one headmaster, with 10 clerks, 30 cleaners, and 20 labourers.
“All the labourers and clerks are over 70 years. That is the rot we have in the so-called public service and I am going to address it. There are people that don’t have certificates, we will look at all of them,” Dickson vowed.
He promised not to leave any stone unturned in turning around the fortunes of the state no matter whose ox is bored and urged the people to prepare for the next round of reforms.
“I wouldn’t want the next governor to inherit all of them (problems). The person will not handle it because it takes a lot of courage to do.
“In Bayelsa, all these people who know about it are the culprits, unions everywhere. They connive with criminals. These are bloody criminals. We are compiling a lot of data and even since 2012 there were no records. They will never retire.
“Somebody is in service, the son has retired, the grandson has retired, but the father is still working. They are contributing to the crisis. People don’t even go to work. We are stopping that. We will deal with them. We are stopping their salaries.
“From next week, they will see. We are already collating names. We cannot be intimidated. These are people earning salaries in three to four places. They buy grade level. They sell steps like it is in Swali market,” he lamented.