By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – MINISTER of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that the replacement of Comrade Ovie Kokori with Austin Enajemo-Isire was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The board of the NSITF was slated to be inaugurated at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Labour, Abuja on Thursday by 11am, but the exercise could not hold as the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, led by Ayuba Wabba mobilised its members to protest the removal of Comrade Kokori as Chairman of the Board.
The labour had insisted that the board should be headed by a transparent and honest person.
However, a one paragraph statement signed by Rhoda Illiya, Head of Press on behalf of the Minister of Labour, stated that the inauguration was put off due to circumstances beyond their control.
It read, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, the inauguration of the Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF billed for today 18th April, 2019, has been cancelled. The inconveniences caused caused by this cancellation is most painful regretted.”
THE inauguration of the new board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, was disrupted on Thursday following the insistence of the organised labour that Chief Frank Kokori should head the board.
But an official of the Ministry of Labour and Employment claimed that the inauguration was put off because some members of the board were not present for the exercise.
The organised labour led by the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba had mobilised as early as 10am to register their disapproval of removal of Kokori as Chairman of the board.
There were people also suspected to be thugs at the venue of inauguration.
Recall that Kokori, a veteran labour unionist and a one time President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, was in 2018 announced as Chairman of the board.
But a statement issued from the labour ministry on Wednesday night signed by the Assistant Director, Press, Rhoda Illiya announced Mr. Austin Enajemo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant as the new Chairman approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the statement, Chief Kokori was now appointed to head the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, MINILS.
Registering their opposition at the Ministry of Labour, Federal Secretariat, Abuja, the NLC President said that labour insists that the NSITF must be managed by a transparent personality.
He said that he was aware that some persons wanted the Fund to be run without a board.
Even as the labour leaders besieged the venue for the inauguration the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who was supposed to inaugurate the new board was yet to show up at the secretariat.