Mr. Maku addressed a world press conference.
The Minister of Information and acting Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, on Tuesday in Abuja said that the Federal Government would take time out to find out how over 40, 000 ghost workers from 215 Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) gained access into the nation’s payroll.
Mr. Maku who spoke at the monthly World Press Conference said government has been able to recover N118.9 billion from these ghost workers.
“First the ghosts are being denied salaries, they used to collect salaries but now we have stopped paying them. With time we will find out how these ghost got into the system then the money recovered can go into development; education to address some of the ASUU problems.
“We have to clean up the system, save money and use the money for development. In addition to that, the law will also take its course on these people found guilty of planting ghost workers on the nation’s payroll,” he said
Speaking on the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Mr. Maku appealed to the lecturers to understand the government.
He explained that the strike had dragged due to the disagreement between FG and ASUU on the payment of allowances.
The allowances, Mr. Maku said, ranged from supervisory, extended lecture time, project supervision (undergraduate and postgraduate) and teaching practice allowances among others.
“I want to use this forum to beg all parents and Nigerians to appeal to our brothers and sisters in ASUU. The children of the poor people of this country have been on the streets for three months for a strike that is totally avoidable. Government promised through the TETFUND N100billion for infrastructure, yet we are going to spend N40 billion for allowances and we want more for allowances.
“I think we need to keep politics aside. We also run an economy that is in need of attention in all fields. So, we are appealing to our university teachers – brothers and sisters – to look at the plights of our children and call off the strike,” he said.
Mr. Maku also noted Nigeria’s improvement in sports, with recent victories in football- from the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, to the recent FIFA World Cup qualifiers match between Nigeria and Ethiopia.
On the country’s economy, Mr. Maku stated that the country was not broke and income generation had greatly moved from oil to other sectors like agriculture, plastics, manufacturing and even exportation.
“The non-oil sectors are now leading in the GDP growth, with agriculture taking the lead with over 27 per cent growth. Also inflation is down while reserves are up,” he said.