The management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund has disputed allegations that it had been sacked and replaced by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
In a letter dated July 1, 2020 and addressed to Adebayo Somefun, Managing Director of NSITF, Ngige said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the suspension of the management Somefun heads over “misappropriation and other gross misconduct”.
The statement further said that the affected officials were to appear before an investigative panel to give information on what they knew about the purported financial infractions.
But reacting in a statement, NSITF said the President had not given such a directive.
The statement reads, “The attention of NSITF management has been drawn to media reports that it had been suspended. We wish to state that President Muhammadu Buhari has not suspended the management of NSITF and has not made any such announcement, anywhere.
“Curiously, the person mentioned in the media report is not a presidential staff but only a mischief merchant. For clarity, we received a letter from the Hon Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, stating that he is carrying out a procurement audit of NSITF and that management is suspended.
“We had noted that the minister's action is against President Buhari's directive, through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that no minister should suspend or purport to sack any head of agency appointed by the President.
“The memo stressed that ministers should follow laid down procedures by going through the governing board of the agencies to make recommendations to the SGF ahead of any action if necessary. We respect the President's commitment to due process and are assured we shall be protected by it. Meanwhile, the NSITF management remain open to any form of investigation by the appropriate agencies, as it has nothing to hide.
“We have been in receipt of several letters by the minister and several petitions written against NSITF by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, and we will make all communications and their slants available to the public and relevant authorities if necessary. The management of NSITF is still discharging its duties as appointed by Mr President and we ask all stakeholders to remain calm and focus, as all is well.”