Oshiomhole, APC Minister, fight dirty over board inauguration
The Minister of Labour Dr. Chris Ngige said he would not constitute the Board of NSITF in his ministry because he had a presidential permission not to inaugurate the particular board at the time it did the others.
Ngige was reacting to a letter by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC where he gave a one week ultimatum to the minister to inaugurate the board of the NSITF.
Reacting to the minister’s letter, Ngige said three agencies have been reconstituted and members were inaugurated on March 8, 2018, in conformity with a presidential directive. All the three boards are currently operational. The only agency left out was the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), which, before the directive, had been enmeshed in major issues of corruption, involving about N48 billion, comprising Federal Government and employers’ contributions to the Employees’ Compensation Fund, plus some non-remitted PAYE taxes, which were carted away through well perfected sleaze operation.
He said the development had resulted in the agency coming under the EFCC’s investigation/prosecution of members of the former board and some of her serving officials.
“An Administrative and Financial Panel of Enquiry was instituted with a presidential approval as a follow – up to the criminal investigations. This was followed by a House of Representatives Committee on Labour and Employment probe in March 2018, which is still ongoing.
“Comrade National Chairman, you are aware of this situation and you had broached this issue with me during your campaign period, when I visited your campaign office. Due to the fact that a lot of the information available to me as a minister are classified, I had told you that I will brief you later and, at our last meeting, during a function on Saturday, July 7, 2018, I had sought for an appointment for the next day, so I could brief you on the situation.”
“I’m not oblivious of the fact that you are a very interested party in the matter because having served as chairman of the NSITF board before the last board, and as a former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president, you would be interested in the tripartite colouration of the board being maintained. More so, as labour still remains your base constituency. Mr. Chairman, a lot of the classified information from the EFCC, the Auditor-General of the Federation’s “spot check” report for an organisation with an account that has not been audited for five years – 2013 – 2017, are not within your purview,” he said.