Nigeria

NSITF: Group accuses Ngige of circumventing Buhari’s powers

Ajimobi knew how to douse political tensions — Ngige
Ajimobi knew how to douse political tensions — Ngige
Dr. Chris Ngige

A group, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) has condemned the recent controversy in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), accusing the minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige of circumventing President Muhammadu Buhari’s powers.

Briefing journalists on Saturday in Abuja, the convener of CSGGG, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic, described the minister’s action as an unpatriotic act.

His said: “Due process has to be followed in this process. You can not dismiss people without giving them a fair hearing.
“Whatever committee set-up should be independent, not man-Fridays of the minister. The minister is taking advantage of his position.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and give the NSITF management the opportunity to defend themselves and not be forced out of office.”

In a letter dated July 1, 2020, and addressed to Adebayo Somefun, managing director of NSITF, Ngige said President Buhari had approved the suspension of the management Somefun heads over “misappropriation and other gross misconduct”.

Somefun was instructed to hand over to the most senior official in the board, and face a panel that would investigate procurement dealings of the agency from 2017 to 2020.

But reacting in a statement on Thursday, NSITF said the president has not given such a directive.

Briefing journalists on Saturday in Abuja, the convener of CSGGG, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic, described the minister’s action as an unpatriotic act.

According to him, “the present management of NSITF has performed creditably well within three years to improve on what they met on ground.”

He added that the management structure at the NSITF “should be returned to the status quo ante to further enrich Nigeria on the culture of performance and excellence.”

He said the present management of the NSITF has “consolidated on the achievements of the previous administration while improving upon existing systems.”

“The industrial relations atmosphere which was hostile and explosive before they assumed office due to low staff morale is now generally peaceful.

“The backlog of staff salaries owed were cleared and all allowances and arrears wed from year 2012 have been paid up to date.

“The management has also implemented public procurement guidelines to promote transparency of procurement operations.

“Also, a total of 225 trainings were carried out, while 4,987 staff have been trained nationwide and there have been robust monitoring and evaluation of regions and branches with the provision of vital working tools for staff,” he added,

Dominic noted that Ngige crossed the line with his proclamation, stressing that the recent position of Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, bars cabinet ministers from removing heads of agencies and parastatals they supervise.

“Ngige’s action, which does not have the backing of the president, has now brought to fore the minister’s disobedience to statutory laws,” he noted.

The group called on President Buhari to intervene in the controversy “in order not to allow lawless appointees rubbish and embarrass his administration.”

Vanguard News

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