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Presidency backs Ngige on NSITF board



The Presidency has intervened in the leadership crisis of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) which has pitched the Nigeria Labour Union (NLC) against the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.

The Presidency yesterday recognised the appointment of Mr. Austin Enejamo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant, as the rightful chairman of NSITF.

It noted that Comrade Frank Kokori was pencilled down for the headship of Labour Training Institute, said a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

The Presidency also expressed deep concern and regrets over the turn of events that culminated in a skirmish at the private home of the minister in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Condemning the picketing of the minister’s home, the Presidency also appealed for calm, saying efforts were on to resolve the issue.

The statement reads: “Following the disagreement between the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the appointment of the chairman of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), the Presidency wishes to clarify as follows:

“That the NSITF is 100 per cent Federal Government of Nigeria-owned insurance parastatal, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment designed for the role of insuring workers (employees) in the public and private sectors. The organisation is empowered by law to implement the Employee Compensation Act (ECA) 2010 with mandate to insure workers and pay them compensation for accidents, deaths and injuries in the course of work.

“The NSITF was bedevilled and riddled with corruption between 2012 and 2015, which resulted in a colossal loss and mismanagement of about N48 billion out of the total N62 billion contributions during the period.

“These were contributions by the employers – viz government and the private sector – for payment of compensation to workers and even to employers for loss of man-hours by their workers. This fraud has been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the last chairman and some members of the former board and some officials of the NSITF are presently being prosecuted by the EFCC.

“All actions taken by the Minister of Labour and Employment towards the resuscitation and repositioning of this ailing agency, including the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the affairs of NSITF and the suspension of the inauguration of the board in 2018, were part of the special work plan approved for the Honourable Minister by Mr. President.

“The appointment of the Chairman of this board, which is in consonance with Section 4(a) of the NSITF Act CAP N88 of 2004, was also approved by Mr. President since July 23, 2018, on the recommendation of the Minister.  Mr. Austin Enejamo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant, Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and renowned Insurance expert, Senior Member, Chartered Institute of Insurance of Nigeria (CIIN), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), was approved by Mr. President for this position. Also approved by Mr. President were the Managing Director and three Executive Directors, who had assumed duties since April 18, 2017.

“Others also approved as non-executive directors are: two members to represent the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), two members to represent the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and one member each to represent the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Members of this board are to be formally inaugurated at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 13 (today) by the Minister of Labour and Employment at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.

“Comrade Frank Kokori, our respected veteran labour leader, has Mr. President’s immense respect and has also been appointed on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour and Employment to chair the board of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS),  a diploma-awarding labour institution…”

Also, the NLC last night dismissed claims by the Presidency that the NSITF is a 100 per cent Federal Government establishment.

The umbrella labour union said the response of the Presidency to the crisis between labour and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngigie, over the board of the fund was coming late.

Reacting to a statement by the Special Adviser (SA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, NLC President Ayuba Wabba blamed the government for the prolonged controversy on the matter.

The union leader said if the government had offered its position earlier, labour would not have wasted its time.

In a telephone interview, he said: “The issue has dragged on for two and a half years and the response is certainly coming late. We ought to have known the position of government. But you know after two and a half years, it is coming late because these are the issues we have written severally on; we have campaigned severally about it and in all our meetings, including the delegates’ conference, we have talked about it.

“One: it is about inaugurating the board because all the Federal Government board of parastatals were inaugurated more than two years ago. But this particular board was singled out, and inauguration has not taken place and somebody has continued to run the place as a sole administrator, appointing people and also exercising the powers of the board. Nowhere in the Act has such a power been given to one person. That is why we have been so concerned.

“For instance, overnight he employed over 300 people without advertisement and most of them from his village. Nowhere has such power been granted to anybody. This is what we have raised and that is why the first agitation was about inaugurating the board.

“The issue of Frank Kokori was something that was introduced much later because in the first place, we were not even aware that Kokori was appointed as the chairman of the board. It is the same minister that informed us after inviting Kokori on various occasions.”

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Zamfara polls: Jubilation as Supreme Court nullifies APC candidates’ elections, declares PDP winner



The Supreme Court on Friday nullified the elections of all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections.

Delivering a unanimous judgment of the five-man panel led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the posts earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidates.

Justice Paul Galinje, who read the lead judgment upheld the decision of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the APC did not conduct any valid primary election and as such had no candidate for any of the elections in the state.

He described the votes polled by the APC candidates in the elections as wasted, adding that the party and the candidates with the second highest votes and the spread in the various elections were the valid winners.

The judgment centres on the governorship, state House of Assembly and the National Assembly elections conducted in Zamfara State on February 23 and March 11, 2019.

APC candidates, including the outgoing governor of the Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who was elected to the Senate, had won most of the offices contested for in the 2019 elections with the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates, placing first runners-up in the polls.

Source: PUNCH

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Reps demand forensic audit of $3.2bn NNPC pipeline project



The House of Representatives has called for forensic audit of three pipeline projects worth $3.288billion.

The House Committee on gas resources that investigated the contract for the upgrade of OML 58 Upgrade 1; execution of Obite-Ubeta-Rumuji (OUR) pipeline; and the Northern Option Pipeline Projects recommended forensic investigation into the projects.

The committee chaired by Fred Agbedi (PDP, Bayelsa) called for forensic investigative audit into the cost overrun emanating from all change orders, including USD 2.2 billion on OML 58 Upgrade 1, USD560 million on OUR Pipeline and USD 528 million on NOPL Pipeline Projects.

The committee admitted difficulty in establishing the true cost, claiming that all the parties involved in the contract gave contradictory figures.

The committee called for “thorough investigation of the professional and/or personal relationship between NNPC/NAPIMS Management and TEPNG on the one hand and TEPNG and local contractors on the other hand in relation to this project to establish claims by parties and ensure fairness of purpose.”

The House also resolved to recover the sum of US592million from TEPNG in line with recommendations of Tabor VFM Audit Report; and that all ‘contracts awarded in this sector should be subjected to Value for Money Audit.”

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BREAKING: Police Council confirms Adamu Mohammed as IGP




The National Council of State and National Police Council has approved the appointment of the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed as the new IG of the Nigeria Police Force.

Adamu was confirmed at the police council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

Musiliu Smith, chairman of the police service commission, and governors of the 36 states were part of the meeting.

Mohammed was appointed in the acting capacity on January 15, 2019 following the retirement of former IGP, Ibrahim Idris.

More details later

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