NSITF MD Challenges Suspension in Court

Suspended Managing Director of the NSITF, Mr. Adebayo Somefun

•Sues Buhari, Ngige

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The suspended Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Investment Trust Fund (NSITF), Mr. Adebayo Somefun, has sought reliefs from the National Industrial Court (NIC) to contest his suspension as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, told THISDAY that he saw the summons of the court action in which Somefun along with one other suspended management staff sued the federal government to the court of arbitration.

Ngige, at the weekend, added that the directive suspending Somefun and another top management staff of the NSITF was in order.

He said the president had the constitutional rights to appoint and dismiss certain categories of public officers without recourse to anybody.

While confirming the summons by the industrial court, Ngige said: “It is only two of them that decided to go to court. Today, I saw their summons taking me and the president to court, National Industrial Court.”

He stated that there were some breaches and financial regulations infractions for which the MD and the affected staff were expected to clear their names.
He said some of the infractions were prima- facie and they needed to prove their innocence.

The suspended NSITF management staff had rejected their suspension, saying that it did not emanate from Buhari.

The management, in a statement, had said: “We wish to state that President Muhammadu Buhari has not suspended the management of NSITF and did not make such an announcement. The person mentioned in the media report is not a staff of the president.”

The suspended officers said the minister’s action was against Buhari’s directive through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that no minister should suspend or sack any head of an agency.