A group, Civil Society Coalition for Transparency, CSCT, has condemned the purported suspension of the entire management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, by the federal government, describing the action as illegal and suspicious.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige had on Friday, July 3, announced indefinite suspension of the Managing Director, Mr. Bayo Somefun and some other senior staff of the NSITF.
But the group in a statement signed and issued yesterday by its National President, Comrade Mike Femi, demanded the immediate reversal of the minister’s decision, saying that he has no right to sack or suspend an appointee of the President without due process.
It said the removal of the Managing Director and some others labelled disloyal staff of NSTIF was “unfortunate and unbecoming of an Honourable Minister and consider this action as a disservice and a gross violation of right to fair hearing as the alleged accusations are still under investigation.”
“We observed that the purported indefinite suspension of Somefun and other senior management staff of the NSITF for alleged financial infraction is unconfirmed and cannot be substantiated owing to the fact that the minister‘s action is against the directive issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as instructed by Mr. President
“The circular clearly states that no minister should be suspended or sacked by any agency appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
‘’For emphasis, on no account shall a Minister of the Federal Republic unilaterally or arbitrarily remove a serving Chief Executive Officer, without recourse to the procedure contained in this circular.
“The memo also stated that ministers should follow procedures by going through the Governing Board of the agencies.
“Again, that such recommendations should be forwarded to the SGF to act if need be. We therefore unanimously consider this suspension as illegal and a violation of due process.
“The suspension is malicious and an act of hatred as it did not follow the civil service rules. We also considered that minister goofed in his bid to remove the claimed disloyal management of the NSITF, having observed that the minister is emotional and expresses his personal grievance,” he stated.
The group therefore demanded that the minister recall the letter and follow the due process.
“We condemn this illegality in its totality and request for the immediate intervention of the SGF to save Nigeria of the embarrassment and avert any destabilisation on the ongoing developments put in place by the current management of the agency led by Mr. Bayo Somefun in his capacity as the Managing Director,” the group added.
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