The Presidency has intervened in the leadership crisis of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) which has pitched the Nigeria Labour Union (NLC) against the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
The Presidency yesterday recognised the appointment of Mr. Austin Enejamo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant, as the rightful chairman of NSITF.
It noted that Comrade Frank Kokori was pencilled down for the headship of Labour Training Institute, said a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
The Presidency also expressed deep concern and regrets over the turn of events that culminated in a skirmish at the private home of the minister in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Condemning the picketing of the minister’s home, the Presidency also appealed for calm, saying efforts were on to resolve the issue.
The statement reads: “Following the disagreement between the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the appointment of the chairman of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), the Presidency wishes to clarify as follows:
“That the NSITF is 100 per cent Federal Government of Nigeria-owned insurance parastatal, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment designed for the role of insuring workers (employees) in the public and private sectors. The organisation is empowered by law to implement the Employee Compensation Act (ECA) 2010 with mandate to insure workers and pay them compensation for accidents, deaths and injuries in the course of work.
“The NSITF was bedevilled and riddled with corruption between 2012 and 2015, which resulted in a colossal loss and mismanagement of about N48 billion out of the total N62 billion contributions during the period.
“These were contributions by the employers – viz government and the private sector – for payment of compensation to workers and even to employers for loss of man-hours by their workers. This fraud has been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the last chairman and some members of the former board and some officials of the NSITF are presently being prosecuted by the EFCC.
“All actions taken by the Minister of Labour and Employment towards the resuscitation and repositioning of this ailing agency, including the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the affairs of NSITF and the suspension of the inauguration of the board in 2018, were part of the special work plan approved for the Honourable Minister by Mr. President.