9 March 2018

Nigeria: Chris Ngige Defies President's Directive to Inaugurate NSITF Board, NLC Kicks

Abuja — The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has failed to inaugurate the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) within the time-frame set by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, had issued a circular penultimate week directing all the ministers to inaugurate boards of agencies and parastatals of government.

The minister, who opted to inaugurate the boards of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), which he chairs, that of the National Productivity Centre and Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS) in Abuja today, insisted that the board of NSITF would not be inaugurated until a nine-man panel of enquiry he instituted on February 15, 2018 submits its report.

Ngige had, while inaugurating the panel, also announced a 30-day suspension of some of the general managers of the Fund to pave way for investigation.

Meanwhile, the disregard to the directive of the President has not gone down well with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in Abuja yesterday that the action of the minister is a clear disregard to the directive of the President that the boards of all the parastatals must be inaugurated on or before Friday, March 9, 2018.

He said: "Well, I know that the President has given a directive that the boards of all government parastatals must be inaugurated on or before Friday this week. The NLC secretariat has not got any letter to the effect that the board of the NSITF would be inaugurated on Friday. Such a step would be disobeying the directive of the President."

However, in a memo with reference number ML.AC/52/1 addressed to some of the invited guests to the occasion obtained by The Guardian in Abuja, the board to be inaugurated at the conference room of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation slated for today (Friday) were not clearly stated.

Also, none of the board members of NSITF had been contacted or sent letters to be in Abuja for the ceremony.

On the board are a former General Secretary of NUPENG, Frank Kokori who is Chairman of the board; Deputy President of the NLC, Peters Adeyemi; Treasure of Congress, Khaleel Ibrahim; representative of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), representative of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the managing director and three executive directors of NSITF and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment who represents the ministry on the board.

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