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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA

THE Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Tuesday, said it has paid out
N306,554,896.23 million in the last four months, as claims and compensations to injured victims.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive, of NSITF, Dr Micheal Akabogu, disclosed this at the at a media interactive session in Abuja.

The Managing Director, represented by the Executive Director, Administration, Barrister, Maureen Allagoa, explained that the compensations served as cover for medical expenses refund, loss of productivity, disability benefits to injured employees, death bemefits to next of kin of deceased employees among others.

According to him, “Worthy of mention is the peculiar case of a staff of Hydrodrive Nigeria Limited, who worked as a Secretary. On the 4th of January 2019, while waiting at a bus stop on her way to work, a reckless bus driver knocked her down resulting to a fracture to her right hand, spinal cord and head injury.

“She was awarded 100 percent disability and was treated at the Lagoon Hospital, Lagos. As at the last visit paid to her on 11th January 2022, she was completely bedridden, paralyzed in all limbs, unable to speak and completely dependent on her husband.

“The arrears of disability benefits in the sum of N4, 994, 150.18 was paid after which the beneficiary was placed on monthly disability benefits in the sum of N146,886.17. This is one out of many services that the NSITF offers to the registered employees.”

The NSITF boss hinted that the Fund and the International Labour Organisation, ILO, are currently deliberating on how to effect some reviews to the employees compensation scheme, following new challenges thrown up by the emergence of Covid-19 globally.

Also speaking at the interactive session, Secretary of the NSITF and General Manager/Head Corporate Affairs, Ijeoma Oji-Okoronkwo said the NSITF has successfully processed 23,455 employees compensation scheme applications across the 56 branches of the Fund and issued 22,761 employees compensation certificates within the period under review.

She said all monies to the credit of the Fund are remitted through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government.

On her part, the Fund General Manager, Claims and Compensation, Barr Nkiru Ogunnaike, said some of the contemporary challenges thrown up by the emergence of Covid-19 which might necessitate a review of the workplace compensation scheme is that a lot of workers in the formal sector now lay claims to have sustained injuries while working from home.

She further said that many formal sector workers also lay claims to have contacted Covid-19 while undergoing official duties, hence are entitled to full compensations.

According to Ogunnaike, most of the victims reporting for claims are those involved in road traffic accidents either on their way to work or back home.

She said there is a challenge on the part of NSITF to ascertain when and where such injuries might have occured to qualify victims for compensations.

She said, “We all know about the Covid-19 pandemic and we are in talks with the ILO to push for legislations on claims especially when covid occured in the course of work.

“For instance we all know that working from home is still a norm now, we have had cases when people said they got injured while working from home, how do you establish whether an employee got injured from home.

“Most of our claims are on victims who had traffic accidents, these people come around to say they got injured on their way to work or from work, this is one area we will need collaboration with the security agencies like the police or road safety officials to actually ascertain where such incidents happened so as not to misappropriate the compensation on victims.”

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