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Taxi driver in the UK receiving salary from Nigerian government

When you quit your job, you should no longer get paid, right? Well, for some former Nigerian government servants, they still do.

They have found work elsewhere, sometimes in a different country, but they are still getting paid by the company that fired them.

This got to the top, and last week President Bola Tinubu ordered an attack.

That person said, "The criminals must be made to return the money they stole."

We changed Sabitu Adams' name to protect his privacy. He has not quit his job as a junior official at a government office and is still getting paid every month, even though he left Nigeria two years ago.

He now works as a cab driver in the UK, but he told the BBC that he wasn't worried about losing his job because he doesn't think Mr. Tinubu's threats are real.

It wouldn't be too hard for Mr. Adams to live without his monthly Nigerian pay of 150,000 naira ($100; £80), because he makes a lot more money driving a taxi.

The 36-year-old said, "When I heard about the president's order, I smiled because I know I'm doing better here and getting less stressed."

But why didn't he let the government know that he was leaving?

"I didn't really quit because I wanted to leave the door open in case I wanted to go back to work after a few years."

According to government data, more than 3.6 million Nigerians have moved to other countries in the last two years, just like Mr. Adams.

A lot of young Nigerians don't think they can make a good living in the country. This feeling has been made worse by the fact that the value of the naira has dropped dramatically in the past year because of Mr. Tinubu's changes as president.

Young people going to other countries to find work has become so common that a word called "japa" was made up to describe it.

It comes from the Yoruba language and means to run away or escape.

Tinubu said he's "struck by the revelations the head of the civil service shared regarding employees who had relocated abroad while drawing salaries without formally resigning" .

The president said that the money should be returned and that those who helped make this happen should also be looked into.

"Their bosses and department heads should also be punished for letting the fraud happen while they were in charge," he said.

This could have been true for Mr. Adams as well.

The UK taxi driver said, "I had a good understanding with my boss, and he just let me leave." He continued to be paid because of people in his area.

The pay is usually split between the person being paid and the boss who stays quiet, maybe with the help of an HR representative.

It was even easier for Mr. Adams. "In my case it wasn’t like that as my boss was a relative."

There is a lot of "ghost-working" going on in Nigeria. It is thought that thousands of people who don't exist are still getting paid, even though there have been several crackdowns. It looks like there aren't many checks and balances in place.

One thing that has never been said before is that it is possible for people who have moved abroad to still get paid on a big scale.

In 2021, Auwal Yakasai left as the director in charge of finances at the information ministry of Kano state. He said he had heard of cases like this.

“To be honest, I have never caught anyone in the act,” Mr. Yakasai told the BBC. He had worked for the government for 32 years.

"However, I've heard many stories of people who made deals like that and were still getting paid after moving or changing jobs."

Mr. Tinubu has promised to cut down on waste and the cost of running the government since he took office in May of last year.

In January, he told all of his and other government officials' official groups going to state and foreign events to be cut by 60%.

Still, some people have pointed out that Mr. Tinubu's government talks a lot but doesn't do much.

To show this, they use plans to buy new planes worth millions of dollars for Mr. Tinubu and his assistant, Kashim Shettima.

One was when Mr. Tinubu opened a new government home for Vice-President Shettima earlier this month in Abuja, the capital. The house cost $13.6m (£11m).

Even though the president talked about the foreign ghost workers, he didn't say exactly what he was doing to stop them and punish those who were guilty.

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