By Andy Chukwu
Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, has inaugurated the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) board.
He inaugurated the board at the presidential villa in Abuja, after a delay which lasted two years.
The minister attributed the delay to “massive looting in the organisation between 2012 and 2015″.
He said between that period, N62.5 billion was contributed out of which N48 billion was unaccounted for and N25 billion was withdrawn without vouchers.
The new board is chaired by Austin Enejomo-Isire despite opposition from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) which wanted Frank Kokori, a labour leader.
Kokori was redeployed to the board of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), a diploma awarding labour institution.
Ngige charged the new board to resist the temptation of fixing special allowances for themselves urging them to execute their duties fairly and transparently.
He also advised them to focus on staff welfare, not personal enrichment.
The minister and leaders of the organized labour had traded words over the board appointment, leading to the picketing of his Abuja residence by NLC.
But Ngige stood his ground and eventually got the support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The inauguration of the new board comes a day after the Presidency said Ngige, had the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari in all the actions he (Ngige) had taken concerning the NSITF.
Femi Adesina, Presidential’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said President Buhari approved of all the actions taken by Ngige.
“All actions taken by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment toward the resuscitation and repositioning of this ailing agency (NSITF), including the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the affairs of the NSITF and the suspension of the inauguration of the board in 2018 were part of the special work plan approved for the minister by Mr President,” he had said in a statement.