By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos – The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has called for caution and respect for rules, civil service procedures, and the enabling Act governing the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
Its Director-General, Dr Timothy Olawale, made the call on Friday in Lagos, following the suspension of the top management and executive committee of the Fund.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had on July 1 suspended the management, headed by Mr Adebayo Somefun, over alleged misappropriation and other gross misconduct.
Somefun was instructed to hand over to the most senior official in the board, and face a panel that would investigate procurement dealings of the agency from 2017 to 2020.
Olawale said: “We received with shock, the news of the purported suspension of the top management and Executive Committee of the NSITF on the basis of a prima facie infraction on the Financial Regulation and Procurement Act, apart from other gross misconduct actions.
“Our shock is premised on the fact that all known decorum, rule of corporate governance and well-publicised disciplinary procedures approved by the President.
“Also, release by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, which was put in place to stem the arbitrary removal of Chief Executive Officers of government agencies and to ensure stability in the system were totally disregarded.”
Olawale said that the board of the fund was duly constituted and inaugurated by the Minister of Labour and Employment in line with the enabling act governing it and its activities.
According to him, as such, observed acts of misconduct in the fund ought to have been brought to the knowledge of the board for necessary actions as it unfolded.
“The board to which the NECA and other statutory institutions like the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and so on, are members were not aware of any of the claims made by the minister as a subject before it.
“The NSITF should not be run outside the laws that established it.
“It is our candid opinion that the purportedly suspended top management be allowed to continue their lawful duties.
“Member-companies represented by NECA are the major contributors of over 90 per cent of the NSITF revenue to the fund, thus, we owe our nation and constituents the responsibility to ensure that right things are done under our watch.
“We have no doubt that the minister will respect these positions of NECA as it is in tandem with the avowed commitment of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect the rule of law, ” he said.