From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the sack of the former board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), ending over one year of internal squabbles it had with Labour Minister Dr Chris Ngige.
The constituted board has Dr Michael Akabogu as the duly appointed Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the Agency. Others appointed are Mrs Akinwale Caroline Temitope, Executive Director, Finance and Investment, Mrs. Alagoa Maurine, Executive Director, Administration and Mr Gana Modu, Executive Director, Operations.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan.
The statement added that Mrs Lauretta Adogu and Alhaji Najeem Yasin were appointed as nominal directors into the Board. Adogu, the Director, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, is to represent the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. She replaces Dr Ifeoma Anyawutaku, now a Permanent Secretary. Yasin, the Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) replaces late Khaleel Ibrahim who died sometime in October 2020 as the NLC representative.
The reconstitution of the board followed the approval of the recommendations in the Report of the Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel set up by the President in July 2020 to investigate the infractions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and the Financial Regulations (FR) in the NSITF.
These financial infractions and other serious prima facie established malfeasance had resulted in the President approving the setting up of the Panel and the subsequent suspension from Office of the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive, and the three Executive Directors of Finance and Investment, Operations, and Administration and Human Resources.
Nine other top Management Officers in the General Manager Cadre were also suspended with the MD and the three Executive Directors on the recommendations of the Honourable Minister of Labour & Employment.
In approving the implementation of the recommendations in the Panel’s report, the President specifically approved the removal from Office of the MD/CE and the three (3) Executive Directors and their immediate replacement from the pool of General Managers of the NSITF and if necessary sourcing of capable hands from the sister like corporate organizations to uplift performance in the NSITF.
Consequently, the affected persons, Messrs Bayo Somefun, Jasper Azuatalam, Tijani Sulaiman and Mrs Olukemi Nelson, were relieved of their appointments with effect from 1st July 2020. Also relieved of their appointments were the nine (9) top Management Officers on suspension with the MD and EDs who had their appointments terminated compulsorily with some to be retired after demotion in ranks from their present Ranks as recommended by the Panel.
The MD and the three Executive Directors are to refund the NSITF Treasury N181,056,000, being illegal overpayments in salaries, allowances such as overseas travels, leave allowances for self and spouses overseas, house allowance, DSTV and club registration and extraneous allowances not approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC).
The other nine top Management staff whose appointments were terminated for various infractions and who have also benefited from the excess remuneration are to refund such overpayments to the Panel.