President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate and indefinite suspension from Office of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Mr. Adebayo Somefun.
Buhari also suspended from office three executive directors, Mr. Jasper Ikedi Azuatalam, Executive Director, Finance and Investment, Mrs. Olukemi Nelson, Executive Director, Operations, and Alhaji Tijani Darazo Sulaiman, Executive Director, Administration. Other management staff suspended are the General Manager, Administration/Human Resources/Maintenance, the General Manager, Finance, Mr. Lawan Tahir, Mr. Chris Esedebe, General Manager, Claims and Compensation, Mr. Olodotun A. Adegbite, Deputy General Manager, Investment and Treasury Management, Mr. Emmanuel Enyinnaya Sike, among others. A statement signed by the Deputy Director/Head, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, said the suspension was as a result of established prima facie infractions on the extant Financial Regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct.
“During the period of their suspension, the suspended Officers are to face a Joint Board and Audit Investigative Panel that has been set up to look into the financial and procurement breaches, as well as gross misconduct in the NSITF for periods of 2016 to date, which have invariably put the contributions of stakeholders in a perilous state. “The affected officers have also been directed to hand over to the most senior officers in their respective departments.
Meanwhile, the Management of NSITF which promptly refuted news of the sack in a statement to the media, said it read news of the their suspension in the newspapers.
“We wish to state that President Muhammadu Buhari has not suspended the management of NSITF and did not make such announcement. The person mentioned in the media report is not a staff of the Presidency. For clarity, we need to mention that we received a letter from the Minister of Labour and Employment Sen Chris Ngige, stating that he is doing a procurement audit on NSITF and that Management is suspended. We noted that the Ministers action is against President Buhari’s directive through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that stated clearly that no Minister has the powers to suspend or sack any head of agency appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari without following due process.” The memo stated that ministers should follow procedures by going through the governing board of the agency that will now make recommendations to the SGF to act if there is need. We are sure that President Buhari will not be part of any illegality and lack of due process. We have been in receipt of several letters by the minister and several petitions written against NSITF by the Minister of Labour Sen Chris Ngige and we will make all communications available to the public and relevant authorities. The Management of NSITF is still discharging their duty as appointed by Mr President.”