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Biometrics Uncover 24000 Ghost Workers in Nigerian Government

March 15, 2016

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The Nigerian government has taken to using biometrics to weed out fraud and corruption. About a third of the way through a government-wide audit of all its employees, officials have found a staggering 24,000 non-existent workers receiving wages.


Large economy, large problem

Nigeria has one of the biggest economies in Africa, but is known to have a serious corruption problem. In fact, when President Muhammadu Buhar was voted in last year, a large part of his mandate was to tackle the corruption issue.

This year his organisation has set about the clean-up task and they have been uncovering wide-scale fraud as evidenced by the 24,000 ‘ghost workers’. The government has been able to use biometrics as a key part of its audit, because of the backing of biometrics in banking solutions. In a number of ministerial departments, the biometric audit discovered payment to non-governmental officials or the same officials under different names, multiple times.

Nigeria’s finance minister said that the discovery and weeding out of these ghost workers and duplicate payments from the payroll would save almost 3 billion Naira ($11.5 million). It’s a saving much needed – Nigeria might have one of the largest economies in Africa, but plummeting oil prices are a serious concern for the nation’s economy.

Security and reliability all round

We often talk about the many benefits that biometric solutions bring to employees and users here at BioStore. The increased convenience, speed and security they can deliver are powerful motivators. Users are safer too, because it is much harder for someone to hack into their account or steal their authentication method.

But this incident with the Nigerian Government has highlighted how biometric solutions can help protect organisations as well. They ensure that people are who they say they are, and accounts belong to who they say they belong to – and no one else – and certainly not to someone who doesn’t exist.

For any organisation, the security, convenience and confidence biometric solutions can bring are invaluable. Schools can be assured that attendance is reliably recorded; employers can confidently track work hours from reliable sign-in and out times; and governments, it would seem, can unmask widespread fraud in their organisations more easily when biometrics are in use.

Yahoo: Nigeria sacks thousands of ghost workers, saving millions

CNN: Nigeria cuts 23,000 ‘ghost workers’ from government payroll

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