By Bashir Hassan, Bauchi.
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), has uncovered and weed out over 9,000 ghost pensioners in the Pension payroll of the Federal Government.
Ikeazor who was in Bauchi on Friday to inspect the ongoing Federal Pension verification exercise for the North East region said the ghost pensioners were identified in the North West and South East region of the country.
She said that so far, over 2,600 pensioners have been verified in the north east with Adamawa State having the highest number of verified pensioners.
The Executive Secretary disclosed that pensioners from Borno and Yobe States will be verified in Yola, Adamawa State in January 2017 after security logistics have been made.
According to Ikeazor, efforts are being made by her Directorate to sanitize and reduce fraud and corruption in the pension administration in the country.
This, she stated, necessitated the establishment of the anti-corruption and Transparency unit of the Directorate.
She told newsmen that one of the major achievements of PTAD is getting pensioners back on the payroll.
“A lot of pensioners were being swindled by fraudsters,” Ikeazor stated, “they will call them and say, ‘give us N50,000 to process your pension’.
“We discovered that these fraudsters don’t operate in isolation but with information from within the system but once we’ve cleaned the system, government will know the exact financial burden it needs to handle.
“So when I came in, I created an anti-corruption unit. We’ve arrested a lot of these fraudsters and handed them over to the EFCC for prosecution.”
The Executive Secretary described the verification exercise as successful.
She said it was a departure from the old fraudulent practice of the past, pointing out that “with the team we have on ground at PTAD, the era of pensioners collapsing on queues while waiting to be verified is over. As you can see, no pensioner is standing on any queue, all of them are seated.
“They are treated with dignity and empathy having served the country for 35 years. I am highly impressed with what I see happening here.” End