There are indications that the Rivers State government is planning to sack some workers in its employ. It is believed to be part of funds saving strategies of the government.
For now, the state government is the highest employer of labour, with about 46,000 employees in its payroll. Of the figure, it is believed that a good chunk are ghost workers.
Sources within the government confided in TNN that that the governor, Nyesom Wike is not comfortable with the bloated figure and has already directed an overhaul in the civil service architecture.
Apart from the ghost workers, it was learnt that there are workers who earn salaries from two different pay points.
The sack gale is likely to sweep away thousands of workers in the state. According to sources, the government came up with the plan as a way of down-sizing its workforce, to reduce its wage bill.
According to an insider, "the Rivers State government plans to re-audit the entire system, because the state government is paying colossal amount on salaries. So, Governor Nyesom Wike has called for the total overhaul of the state civil service.
"The essence of the planned revalidation is that the Rivers State government really wants to know those on its workforce and those that work for the Rivers State government," the source said.
When contacted to comment on the issue, the Head of Service in Rivers State, Rufus Godwins, declined a response, but politely excused our reporter.
This is coming just as hunger, occasioned by job losses, unemployment and lull in businesses has persisted in most parts of Rivers State, especially Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Nigeria's poverty statistics reveal that the poverty rate in Rivers State is about 21.1 per cent.
There has been massive loss of jobs in the state since 2015, especially as a sizeable number of companies, businessmen and investors had left Rivers State in droves.
Also, more and more qualified Rivers youths are said to be unemployed now than ever and more Rivers men and women are living below one dollar per day.
According to statistics, Rivers State has the highest unemployment rate of 41.8 percent and the highest misery index of 79.87 percent in Nigeria.
Misery index, according to economists, is "an economic indicator that measures the well-being of the average citizen. It looks at the purchasing power of the income, the ease of getting paid jobs, and the quality of available jobs.”
This shocking revelation was corroborated by an opinion survey recently conducted by TNN reporters in Port Harcourt. The respondents decry the rising poverty rate in the state.
The more than 200 respondents interviewed listed two other businesses which, according them, are thriving in Rivers State, the most prominent oil producing State.
Aside from excruciating poverty, the willing interviewees mentioned misery and criminality.
According to the respondents, "the fastest growing business in Rivers State is poverty. The second fastest growing business is misery.
"The third fastest growing business in the state is criminality. The challenges presented by these issues can not bow to blame games. They can only be solved by forward-looking leadership that is solution-oriented,” one of the respondents said.
Most of the people TNN spoke to blamed the situation partly on all the very violent cult-related killings happening in Rivers State .
"Rivers citizens and residents are living in fear. So, those cultists must be chased out of the State for peace to reign," another respondent said .
When contacted on the phone, Emma Okah, the commissioner for information and communications claimed that the present administration in Rivers State has created thousands of jobs since Governor Nyesom Wike took over the reins of political power in 2015.