In Nigeria, a one-month old baby made $150 a month as a public sector employee. The Nigerian government has tens of thousands of forged or imaginary names on its payroll. These people inhabit the ranks of Nigeria’s “ghost workers,” who receive pensions from the government without ever working a day. The problem has not improved over time. Ghost workers are defrauding the Nigerian government out of $530 million (US) each year, effectively crippling the national budget. While Nigeria has attempted to fight this corruption through audits of the public sector payroll, many people slip through the cracks and continue to draw a paycheck.
The problem of ghost workers cuts to the core of the challenge of fighting corruption in Nigeria, and as such does not have a simple solution. More robust social service programs and increased job creation would likely help, but would also be nearly impossible to implement as so many political stakeholders continue to benefit from the current system.