FCTA Disrupts NSITF Promotion Exam over Breach of COVID-19 Protocols

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Olawale Ajimotokan

The FCT Administration Ministerial Taskforce on Enforcement of COVID-19 Protocols has disrupted the promotion examination of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) staff over violation of the Health Protection Regulations 2021, signed into law last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The arrival of the FCT Taskforce team Wednesday sent many of the top management echelon NSITF into disarray, with many of them scaling the fence of the examination venue and abandoning their vehicles, apparently to evade arrest by the COVID-19 enforcement team.

Over 1200 staff of the NSITF drawn from across the nation were cramped into the New MM Event Centre, at Area 11 Abuja for the promotion examination, when the task force stormed the venue, following a tip-off that the exercise was going on in stark violation of the presidential order on COVID-19 health protocols.

The taskforce dislodged members of the NSITF staff from the exams hall and invited the General Manager, Health, Safety and Environment, Mr Tesh Kibikiwa, who was coordinating the exams for further questioning.

The Head, Media and Enlightenment of FCT Ministerial Taskforce on Enforcement COVID-19 Protocols, Attah Ikharo, who confirmed Kibikiwa’s arrest told reporters that other top directors of NSITF escaped.

However, his arrest was resisted by some workers of NSITF, leading to a scuffle with one of the police officers attached to the taskforce, DSP Abubakar Sanni.

Attah also rebuked the NSITF leadership of failing to leave to expectation and vowed that the fleeing directors and others who flouted the Presidential regulations would be prosecuted.
While reiterating the commitment of the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello to the health and safety of all residents, he warned that the laws will not spare any organisation or individual that violates the Presidential regulations.

“We stormed there because we got a complaint from some of the staff of NSITF that the exercise was going on without any regard to the Presidential regulations. On arrival at M and M Event Centre, we discovered that NSITF had gathered its staff from different states from across the country for a promotional exam, without complying with COVID-19 guidelines.

“They claimed PTF had approved the exercise, but could not produce any valid evidence, while the union leaders refused that our team should not arrest anyone, the two directors abandoned their cars, jumped the fence and escaped,” Attah said.

He also said that the owners of the event centre would be invited to explain why they allowed an event of that scale to hold without adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols.