Crisis seems to be brewing in the labour and employment sector, as the management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), has dismissed reports that the dismissal of its Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr. Adebayo Somefun, and 11 other staff had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige in a statement made available to journalists on Thursday in Abuja, said President Buhari had approved the immediate, compulsory, and indefinite suspension of the key officials from office over alleged infractions and gross misconduct. The letter had further stated that an investigative panel had also been set up to look into the alleged financial and procurement breaches committed by the affected officials within the last four years.
But a counter response statement made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja and signed by management of the NSITF, noted that President Buhari had no hand in the purported sack,adding that it was a sole action of Ngige. The statement reads: “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 President. “For clarity, we need to mention that we received a letter from the Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige stating that he is doing a procurement audit on NSITF and that Management is suspended.
“Meanwhile, the management of NSITF is open to any form of investigation by the appropriate agency as there is nothing that the management will hide or is hiding. The management of NSITF is still discharging its duty as appointed by Mr. President.” NSITF further noted that the Minister of Labour’s action was against President Buhari’s directive through the Secretary to the Gov-ernment of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapher, which had clearly stated that no Minister should suspend or sack any head of agency appointed by President Buhari.
According to the management, the action did not only negate a recent circular from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that warns against arbitrary removal of chief executive officers and its impact on stability and service delivery, but also puts it to test.