Jaiyeola Andrews in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has threatened to report some insurance firms involved in its Group Life Assurance Scheme to the anti-graft agencies for their failure to settle indemnity claims to several deceased staff.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye handed out the threat at a meeting in Abuja with representatives of the insurance companies involved in the scheme.
The indicted Insurance firms were Leadway Assurance, Standard Alliance, Crystal Life, Capital Express, Zenith General Insurance, Intercontinental Life Assurance Company, Wapic Life Assurance, Oceanic Life, Lasco and Goldlink.
The permanent secretary described the attitude of the indicted insurance firms as callous and insensitive.
According to Ajakaiye, the indicted insurance firms had refused to pay claims from 2007 to date and are deliberately frustrating the implementation of the laudable policy.
“We made this policy so that we can take care of those they left behind and if we could bring you in as our partners to implement this scheme and then you default in your own area, year after year, for us to be having unpaid claims from 2007 till date, is seriously unacceptable.
“When I received brief on this issue I felt very unhappy. I felt very bad. If there is anything I do not play with wherever I go, it is staff welfare, especially the welfare of those who are so unfortunate to depart from us”he said.
The FCT permanent secretary noted that if this was the only thing that he could achieve during his period as a permanent secretary, he would take it to the highest level because it was people’s money and the money must get to the individual families that were supposed to benefit from the money.
However, Ajakaiye gave 30-day deadline to the firms to pay the deceased families or face the full wrath of the law, saying the era of impunity was gone forever.
He vowed to go to any length to ensure that these claims were paid.
“The present crop of leadership in the FCTA places high premium on staff welfare and would not tolerate crass lawlessness and misdemeanor from any insurance company”.
“We won’t allow you to continue to do whatever you like with this money. This money is already with you and the administration does not owe you.
“If this (payment) is not done within the stipulated period, we will write to Mr. President on this matter and be assured that the security agencies including the anti-graft bodies will treat this as economic sabotage” Ajakaiye insisted.
The insurance claims, which run into several hundreds of millions of Naira had been pending since 2007, a development that had kept the next of kin of the deceased in financial and emotional jeopardy even when the FCTA had long paid the insurance firms their deductible premiums.