INTRIGUES! Ngige Finally Bows To Pressure, Makes This Move As NLC Embarks On Full Scale Protest

Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has finally inaugurated the new National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) board after a delay of two years.

The Minister while inaugurating the new board in Abuja, on Monday stated that the two-year delay in the inauguration came about due to the massive looting which occurred in the organisation between 2012 and 2015.

Ngige said that between that period the sum of N62.5 billion was contributed with N48 billion being unaccounted for and that N25 billion was withdrawn without vouchers.

Reports from Channels Television further says that the past board is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The new board is to be chaired by Austin Enejomo-Isire.

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Ngige, however, gave a charge to the new board, asking them to resist all temptations of fixing special allowances for themselves while urging them to execute their duties fairly and transparently.

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He advised them as well to focus on staff welfare, and not personal enrichment.

Meanwhile, the organised labour yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the involvement of Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, in the affairs of the Nigeria Social Investment Trust Fund (NSITF).The demand came as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) begins a protest in Abuja against the minister today.

Callistus Ewelike/NAN

NLC President Ayuba Wabba, however, told The Guardian last night that the protest would not be against the inauguration of the NSITF board, but the manner in which Ngige superintended the affairs of the labour sector in the past three years and the recent attacks on protesters at the minister’s residence.

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Labour members protesting against alleged refusal by Ngige to inaugurate the board of the NSITF had picketed the minister’s premises last week. The action ended in a violent clash between Ngige’s supporters and the demonstrators.
While the inauguration of the new board takes place in Aso Rock, labour and its allies vow they would be on the streets venting their displeasure against the minister.

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Wabba said the labour movement was not particular about inaugurating Frank Kokori, a former general secretary of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), as the chair of the board but that a board should be in place to halt the alleged reign of Ngige as sole administrator of NSITF.

“We expect President Buhari to establish a commission of enquiry to look into the award of contracts and employment of 300 persons by the minister, if this administration is serious about fighting corruption. Our members will be at the inauguration tomorrow (today) because it is statutory.”Wabba maintained that whether Kokori is eventually made the board chair of NSITF or not, labour would ensure that the representatives of both the NLC and NECA resist the running of the Fund by proxy.

(PM News/Guardian)

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