..alleged that his underhand dealings are numerous
…how he bought SUVS for N305m
…inserted N2bn in 2020 budget
…his wife as staff of SGF appointed insurance broker who collects N100m annually
…set up adhoc investigative panel to dig deeper
BY EMMAN OVUAKOORIE
The House of Representatives on Tuesday took a swipe at the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige for suspending the entire management of NSITF over pumped up allegations.
The lawmakers apparently peeved by the minister’s action which according to them was a clear violation of Presidential Order said it was unconstitutional.
The lawmakers bared their minds as they debate a motion under matters of public importance promoted by Hon Leke Abejide.
The motion was entitled:URGENT MOTION ON THE INCESSANT AND ARBITRAL BREACH OF PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES ON THE SUSPENSION OF TOP MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS OF NIGERIA SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND (NSITF) AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES BY THE MINISTERS
Apparently sensing that Members from the South East zone were not particularly happy that one of their own was being slaughtered, the Presiding Officer, Femi Gbajabiamila quickly intervened saying the motion will be further debated as soon as possible.
But in a twist, the House resolved to set up an adhoc investigative panel to probe deeper into the matter immediately.
The panel is to be headed by Hon Mariam Onuoha, APC, Imo state from the same geo-political zone of Ngige.
The lawmakers who led the onslaught against the minister were James Abiodun Faleke, APC, Ikeja Federal Constituency of Lagos and Soli Sada, APC, Katsina.
In his contribution, Rep Faleke said”minister of Labour and Employment. has abused his office he bought vechicles worth 305 million inserted 2 billion naira into 2020 budget and 4 SUVS.
” Ngige’s wife as a staff of SGF signed and approved the appointment of an insurance broker for the ministry of Labour, at 100million per year.
Hee said t”he draconian action by the minister was unconstitutional as he lacks the powers to suspend the NSITF management that only the president. Faleke also raised some allegations against Ngige insisting that his actions was taking to hide some underground dealings.
Read the full motion below:
URGENT MOTION ON THE INCESSANT AND ARBITRAL BREACH OF PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES ON THE SUSPENSION OF TOP MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS OF NIGERIA SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND (NSITF) AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES BY THE MINISTERS
Notes that the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment by a letter dated 1 July 2020 signed by him, purportedly conveyed the directive of Mr. President to suspend from office, the entire Management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) for “prima facie infractions on the financial regulation and Procurement Ac ”
Aware that the said members of the Management committee of the NSlTF were variously and collectively appointed into the position at the Pleasure of Mr. President who has approved a laid down procedure for removal of executives of Government Parastatals.
Aware that a Presidential directive Circular (Ref No: SGF/OP/l.S.3/T/163) of 19th May 2020 issued by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, states that the Procedure contained in the circular is a mandatory guide and all Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and any other public officer in similar supervisory position are enjoined to strictly abide by its content.
The circular further stated amongst others that ”for emphasis, on no account shall
a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Unilaterally or arbitrarily remove a
serving Chief Executive Officer without recourse to the procedure contained in
Some other relevant portions of the said circular include:
a. Requiring ”the supervising Minister through the Permanent Secretary to refer the matter to the Governing Board for necessary action…
b. in the absence of the Board, the Minister shall, with the support of the , Permanent Secretary function in that capacity in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Administrative Guidelines
c. and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation shall implement and/ or convey the approval and directives of Mr. President on every disciplinary case against the Chief Executive officers in the Public Service.
Further aware that 8 Governing Board was constituted for the Fund by Mr. President to oversee the affairs of the Fund and to take appropriate disciplinary
actions amongst others, where necessary.
Amazed that though the Minister wrote the Chairman of the Board, at no point did the Board meet to decide, resolved nor took a decision to dissolve the Executive and Management Committee.
Surprised that a Ministry saddled with the responsibility of mediating in labour matters and solving labour issues on behalf of Government and People of Nigeria can flagrantly disobey laid down procedures of government in its unilateral dissolution of the Executive and Management Committee of an employee compensatory Fund, thereby jeopardizing the purpose and essence of the establishment of the Fund particularly in this Covid era.
Confirmed that no Minister is procedurally empowered to remove the Executive of any Agency under any guise including suspension but the Hon. Minister Senator Dr. Chriinwabuezeoldgqge inyt‘higfvaaedgggigtgted‘ mr‘nseIf. int‘o“S the sole caquthorityééeg‘xfmx
thereby bypassing all the stated procedures as approved by Mr. MPresident to convey the suspension of these officers.
Worried that the incessant flagrant disobedience of presidential directives as witnessed recently with the actions of the Honourable Ministers of Labour & Employment and his counterpart in Power leaves room for potential breaches of laid down rules and against laid down procedure, thereby making the government
look unserious before the general public.
Observed and in confirmation of the unilateral decision of the Hon. Minister, that the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), an institutional stakeholder in the NSITF representing 90% of the contributors to the Fund and a member of the Board of the Fund by its letter of 3rd Ju|y to the Minister and the advertorial in the Dailies of 6th July 2020