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Nigeria: Spiderwebs Expose Official’s Absenteeism During Governor’s Surprise Visit

The governor’s spokesperson said he met many offices deserted by workers during his surprise visits to government institutions on Tuesday.

Jigawa State Governor Umar Namadi, on Tuesday, paid surprise visits to some schools and health facilities, and a Local government area secretariat, where he found many offices virtually “deserted” by workers.

At the secretariat of Miga Local Government Area, he found one of the offices to be covered with dust and spiderwebs hanging from different positions.

A video clip capturing part of the governor’s visit and seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday shows Mr Namadi rebuking an official who was trying to suggest that his principal was only away momentarily, even when cobwebs clinging to his office’s door showed he had been away for a long while.

The governor, while asking for the whereabouts of the official in charge of the office, the anxious unidentified subordinate replied said the senior officer was around, but only stepped out just before the governor’s arrival.

But the governor disagreed, saying an office covered with dust and cobwebs must have been deserted for a long time.

“How can you say the officer is around when the office is covered with spiderwebs? You don’t fear God,” Mr Namadi fumed, as he moved to the next office.

The governor went around some offices and schools during the impromptu visit, supervising the meals being cooked for pupils. He demanded the whereabouts of some of the absentee workers whom he found their offices were locked up.

Deserted secretariats

The governor’s media aide, Hamisu Gumel, said in a statement on Wednesday, said the governor paid the surprise visits to the government institutions to ensure punctuality and commitment to service delivery to the citizens.

He said the governor visited Kiyawa, Jahun, Kafin-Hausa, and Miga local government areas on Tuesday.

“The primary purpose of the visit was to personally assess the functioning of government facilities and the dedication of staff in these areas.

“Other places also visited by the governor include health facilities, and various levels of schools, with notable institutions such as the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Jahun and Boys Science College in Kafin-Hausa being on the list.

“During these impromptu visits, almost all of the secretariats appeared deserted, with offices locked and employees absent. Governor Namadi expressed deep disappointment at the nonchalant attitude to work displayed by the local government chairmen and staff in these areas.

“Addressing the issue, Governor Namadi vowed to enforce discipline and uphold the law within the state government, regardless of a worker’s position or status. He emphasized the importance of maintaining effective service delivery in governance and declared his administration’s commitment to improving the well-being of the people in Jigawa State.

“Governor Namadi expressed his dismay at the laxity and absenteeism of some local government chairmen and staff, underscoring the need for commitment and dedication in public service. He pledged to hold defaulters accountable for their actions.

“In addition, Governor Namadi extended his appreciation to the dedicated health workers and teaching staff at the health facilities and schools he visited.

“He encouraged them to adhere to established guidelines and principles and also to fear Allah in discharging their responsibilities, assuring them of his administration’s tireless efforts to promote the state’s best interests, as promised in his administration’s 12-point agenda blueprint.

“The surprise visits to local government secretariats and other government institutions were a testament to Governor Namadi’s commitment to ensuring the efficient operation of all sectors in the state. It was also a direct response to his pledge to establish a transparent and accountable government for the betterment of Jigawa State,” Mr Gumel said.

Previous visits

Tuesday’s visit was a continuation of the governor’s unscheduled visits to state institutions. On 19 June, the governor paid an unscheduled visit to the state’s secretariat complex in Dutse, where he discovered only a few workers and senior officials turned up for work.

During the visit, he met only six senior officers in their offices.

Of the 22 serving permanent secretaries, only three were in their offices attending to files when the governor visited the secretariat.

In July, Mr Namadi similarly paid a surprise visit to the General Hospital, Dutse, where he caught health workers selling drugs that are meant to be given to children under five for free.

He described the action of the health workers as sabotage. He said he was worried to find out that patients — even under-fives — were being sold drugs in the hospital in contravention of the state government’s policy of free healthcare to under-five-year-old children in the state.

Mr Namani said it contravened the state government’s policy on free healthcare for children under five and lactating mothers.

However, the governor has yet to announce sanctions on the officials earlier caught in various wrongdoings while on official assignments.

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