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Breaking News:

Kokori out as Ngige inaugurates NSITF Board today

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
18 April 2019   |   4:02 am
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige will this morning inaugurate the board of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund...

Federal Ministry of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige.

•NLC writes Buhari
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige will this morning inaugurate the board of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) without Frank Kokori.

An invitation letter circulated to the social partners on Tuesday night that listed the names of the board members, which was sighted by The Guardian did not include the name of the former NUPENG General Secretary who was named board chair by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017.

A source in the federal ministry of Labour and Employment told The Guardian that the Minister has indeed obtained the approval of President Buhari for the nomination of a Delta-state born insurance guru to supplant Kokori.

The identity of the new board Chair was not disclosed as at yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

It was also learnt that Kokori may be named board Chair of Michael Imoudu Institute of Labour Studies Ilorin (MINILS).

Not only has Kokori been eased out of NSITF, the Permanent Secretary has also lost out in representing the ministry as the position has been offered to the director of Occupational Safety and Health by the Minister contrary to the Act setting up NSITF.

But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has protested against the removal of Kokori via a letter to President Buhari.

The General Secretary of Congress, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson said: “If the original board is inaugurated, we have no problem with that. We have been canvassing for the board to be inaugurated. We hope that the correct thing would be done tomorrow (today) because we were aware of the overtures to try to change the composition of the board as initially announced. We have protested against such clandestine move.”

Indeed, the NLC had written the Federal Government through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who denied knowledge of replacement.

It was gathered that Mustapha said the Chair of the NSITF Board remains Kokori.

On the approval gotten by Dr Ngige from President Buhari to nominate another person as the board chair, Ozo-Eson said: “We think that is very unfortunate. The history of NSITF has to be truly understood. It is the workers’ money which is why workers have always played an important role in its operations. Kokori is fully qualified to chair the board. Whatever manipulations that have taken place to want to change, we find objectionable.”

While it was confirmed that Kokori is presently in Abuja, it was not clear whether his presence in Abuja was connected to the inauguration.

The Guardian also confirmed that invitation to the inauguration was not extended to Kokori as at yesterday (Wednesday) night.

There are 11 members of the NSITF board.

Those that will be inaugurated today are the Director-General of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Timothy Olawale and Dr Mohammed Yinusa who both represent employers, Waheed Adeyanju and Khaleel Ibrahim represent NLC, Director of Occupational Health and Safety, Mrs Ifeoma Anyawuataku represents the ministry of Labour and Employment, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is represented by Mrs Dutse Umma Aminu while Jasper Azutalam (Executive Director Finance and Investment of NSITF), Tijani Suleiman (Executive Director Administration of NSITF), Kemi Nelson (Executive Director Operations) and Managing Director of NSITF, Adebayo Somefun represent the Fund.