By Dike Onwuamaeze
The Nigeria Employers Consultative Forum (NECA) has distanced itself from a purported board meeting of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) that empowered the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to suspend the top management of the NSITF.
A press statement signed by the Director General of NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale, and made available to THISDAY yesterday, clarified that “there was no deliberation at any time at the board on matters bordering on alleged financial infractions by the management. These issues were never brought up, referred to the board or tabled for consideration, not to talk of any correspondence from the board to the Honourarable minister for actions.
“The records are there for verification and members of the board including representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the board are also alive to verify the truth. The NECA is not against the minister as head of the supervising ministry taking whatever actions he deemed right in his capacity but takes exception to misrepresentation and misleading information to the public.”
Olawale said that it would be in the public interest to divulge the identities of the board members behind the said petition.
“Some stakeholders may be fooled by misinformation and misrepresentations, but NECA refuses to fall for illegality as we owe contributors to the fund, who are employers of labour represented by us and the citizenry, the duty of due diligence and forthrightness,” NECA said.
The employers association said that although it had no argument against any investigation or probe of NSITF management, it wished to put it on record that NECA “is against being used through impersonation to give credence to illegality of circumventing due process of doing what is right through the governing board of the fund.”
The NECA also noted that the alleged complicity by past representatives of the association on the board of NSITF has been investigated by government agencies and “is currently a subject of litigation in the courts. We will not dwell on it as it is subjudice.”