By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A group called Civil Society Coalition for Transparency, CSCT, Friday, kicked against the alleged suspension of Managing Director, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Bayo Somefun, and other Senior Staff of the Fund by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
This was contained in a statement signed by the President, CSCT, Comrade Mike Femi, where the CSO described the alleged suspension as malicious and an act of hatred as it did not follow the civil service rules.
The statement reads in part, “A Press Statement issued by the CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION FOR TRANSPARENCY (CSCT) on the suspension of the Managing Director and some other Senior Staff of the NSITF by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment on Friday 3rd of July, 2020.
“A response to the news of the suspension of the Managing Director and some other senior Management Staff of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the rebuttal by the Management of the NSITF formed the crux of our deliberation and our position at an emergency meeting on Friday.
“Our Position; We observed that the purported approval of the indefinite suspension of Somefun and other Senior Management Staff of the NSITF for the alleged financial infraction is unconfirmed and cannot be substantiated owing to the fact that the Minister‘s action is against the directive issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as instructed by Mr. President
“The circular clearly states that no Minister should be Suspended or sacked by any Agency appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari ‘’For emphasis, on no account shall a Minister of the Federal Republic unilaterally or arbitrarily remove a serving Chief Executive Officer, without recourse to the procedure contained in this circular’’
“The memo also stated that Ministers should follow procedures by going through the Governing Board of the Agencies. Again, such recommendations should be forwarded to the SGF to act if need be. We therefore unanimously consider this suspension as illegal and a violation of due process.
“The suspension is malicious and an act of hatred as it did not follow the civil service rules. We also considered that minister goofed in his bid to remove the claimed disloyal management of the NSITF.
“We observe with dismay the clandestine move and activities of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment: Sen. Dr. Chris Ngige to remove the Managing Director and some other labelled disloyal staff of NSTIF as unfortunate and unbecoming of an Honourable Minister and consider this action as a disservice and a gross violation of the right to fair hearing as the alleged accusations are still under investigation.
“On the strength of our findings, we demand the Minister to recall the letter and follow the due process. Having observed that the Minister is emotional and expresses is a personal grievance.”
The statement also condemned alleged illegality and called on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to intervene over the matter.
“We condemn this illegality in its totality and request for the immediate intervention of the SGF to save Nigeria of the embarrassment and avert any destabilization on the ongoing developments put in place by the current Management of the Agency led by Mr. Bayo Somefun in the capacity as the Managing Director”, it added.