By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Organized Labour Movement on Tuesday vowed to make the industrial space uncomfortable for the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige over his refusal to inaugurate the board of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF).
This is just as the Movement disclosed, that they will picket Dr. Ngige anywhere they see him, starting from Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
Speaking to Journalists in Abuja, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress,(NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said that the burden of the Nigerian workers has increased by the continued refusal of Dr. Ngige to inaugurate the NSITF board and the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC).
According to Wabba, “This is nearly four years since the expiration of the tenure of the last board of the NSITF. “Despite the re-constitution of the board of the NSITF and the appointment of Chief Frank Kokori as the Chairman of the Board of the NSITF by President Muhammadu Buhari since 2017, Dr. Chris Ngige has continued to delay the inauguration of the board using different tactics”.
He further alerted Nigerians that the Minister is adamant on perpetually appropriating the NSITF in sole proprietorship, stressing that “Nigerian workers reject the manifest intent of Dr. Chris Ngige to continue to run the NSITF as a Sole Administrator”.
Wabba, stated that the attitude of the Minister is against the provisions of the laws establishing the NSITF and all moral codes, adding also that the labour movement rejects Dr. Ngige’s handling of industrial relations, social dialogue and tripartite consultation on ad hoc basis.
The NLC President noted also that the NSITF carrying on without a board for nearly four years now is both an aberration and a high show of contempt for the laws and common decency.
In his words, “Dr. Ngige confessed to some of us that his major problem with the appointment of Chief Kokori is that he is too rigid for his liking.
“We want to reiterate that it is only very rigid and incorruptible people like Chief Frank Kokori that we want to superintendent over the workers money in NSITF. This is only in line with the anti-corruption war of Buhari’s government”, he said.
For his part, Chief Frank Kokori stated that Nigeria is going backwards, stressing that if Ngige wins the struggle, then Nigeria is back to the dark ages.
“How can the president appoint a man of my status as the chairman of the NSITF board…The NSITF has been bastardised for so many years, people steal and nothing happens then you put a man of integrity there then one man like Ngige will say no.
“In all these, Ngige is not alone, a lot of money, billions of Naira have changed hands and the issue is that if Kokori goes there, a lot of things are going to happen because you cannot bend me”, he said.
He further stressed that Nigerians must ensure that the country does not get to an extent where jobs are being bought by the highest bidder.
The National Social Insurance Trust Fund was set up under the NSITF Act (N88 of 1993), to warehouse contributions from employers to workers.