NLC insists Kokori is Chair of NSITF board, urges Buhari to probe Ngige
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) insists that a former General Secretary of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG, Frank Kokori remains the board chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who stated this in Abuja urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order a probe of the stewardship of the three years Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has been the Sole Administrator of the Fund.
Wabba alleged that the spurious allegation of invasion of the ministry that Ngige cited as the reason for the non-inauguration of the board penultimate week was untrue saying there was no report by the Department of State Security (DSS) and Police of break down of law and order in the ministry on the said day.
The NLC Chief explained that labour could not be called an interloper in the inauguration of the board as both labour and Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) have two statutory representatives on the board whose duty is to protect the interest of the working people who are the beneficiaries of the compensation scheme.
His words: “Ngige’s outburst and resort to gutter language is certainly an expression of his desperation to turn the NSITF into his personal estate, an effort which he sees the NLC or organised labour truncating. This drama has been on since the constitution of the Board of the NSITF under the Chairmanship of Chief Frank Ovie Kokori.”
In its letter to President Buhari on the matter, Wabba pointed out that Congress explained to the President the implications of failure to inaugurate the board months after the President appointed members.
NLC argued that the delay was preventing NLC and NECA from participating in the governance processes of NSITF as well as creating problems in the operations of the Trustfund Pensions, a PFA, which NLC and NECA along with NSITF have shares in.
Congress alleged that the unending probe initiated by the Minister was a plot to perpetuate his sole ‘administratorship’ as supervising Minister of the Fund.
While asking President Buhari to probe Ngige without delay, NLC alleged that the Minister forced NSITF to release N18million to a nine-man administrative panel of enquiry into the NSITF finances for a probe that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had already conducted investigations and already began persecution of alleged culprits in the mismanagement of the funds of the agency.
NLC also accused Ngige of recruiting hundreds of people, majority of whom are from his community into the NSITF, while forcing the approval of hundreds of millions of Naira for dubious induction trainings, procurement and monetisation of jeeps for himself and the Minister of State in the Ministry, among other spurious expenditure.
Wabba faulted the claims of the Minister that President Buhari had indeed replaced Kokori, saying Kokori got his nomination to Chair the Board of NSITF as a chieftain of the ruling party in Delta State and on his own right as a distinguished and forthright elder statesman.
However, Wabba expressed optimism that the dropping of the name of Mr President notwithstanding, labour expects Minister Ngige to inaugurate the Board of NSITF under the chairmanship of Frank Ovie Kokori before the 2019 May Day.
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