OPERATIVES of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) have joined the ongoing biometric data verification of ex-workers and pensioners of the liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways Limited.
Besides the EFCC and ICPC agents, other security agencies were also enlisted for the exercise.
The participation of EFCC and ICPC personnel in the exercise, according to Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, was to ensure transparency and accountability.
It was also to ensure that people who were not qualified did not have access to the money.
Speaking at the Skypower Catering Limited premises in Ikeja, Lagos yesterday, the minister said besides displaying the relevant documents, the EFCC and ICPC officials were obtaining thumbprints of the beneficiaries.
She was represented by the Secretary of Presidential Initiative for Continuous Audit (PICA), an arm of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mohammed Dikwa.
Dikwa, while addressing the ex-Airways workers and pensioners, said hitches experienced in the exercise were being looked into.
He said the Federal Government would create more desks and deploy more personnel to fast-track the ongoing verification exercise.
He said government was aware of the hitches and had approved extension of the verification by one week to ensure that beneficiaries were accommodated.
But, scores of pensioners and former workers have berated officials of PICA for the sloppiness of the exercise. They alleged that there were not enough personnel to attend to beneficiaries that are very sick and the elderly.
They noted the paucity of personnel at the desk dedicated to the EFCC and ICPC, which they said has accelerated the delay in the exercise.
But, Dikwa said: “We were here to confirm that the verification is on course, and we have noted some hitches, which would be addressed with the extension of the verification for an additional week.
“The whole idea is to ensure that all beneficiaries are captured. We call for orderliness and pledge that we will increase the personnel to take care of beneficiaries, whose names were omitted. We understand the consequences that have come with the delay in the payment of these severance benefits, especially those that have either died, lost their documents and others. We will create a special desk for them.”
He said government was making plans to ensure that the ongoing verification would be the last.
Dikwa said: “This will be the last verification before all payments are closed. Government is paying 50 per cent now to settle the balance in the next few months. We are making plans to ensure those living outside the country are not omitted. So, there is no cause for alarm.”
On the involvement of security agencies, Dikwa said: “We have enlisted the services of EFCC, ICPC and other security agencies to ensure transparency and accountability of the exercise.
“The whole idea is to ensure that the money does not get into the wrong hands. We are going to deepen their involvement by ensuring that beneficiaries undergo biometric data capturing with thumbprint.”