Labour workers held a protest on Monday in Abuja against the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, following his refusal to inaugurate Frank Kokori as the Chairman of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund.
The Presidency had said Mr. Austin Enejamo-Isire was the authentic chairman of the Board of Directors, NSITF, and would be inaugurated at Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
But the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayula Wabba, told workers during the protest that corruption could not be fought if the government was “allergic” to putting people of integrity in positions of influence.
Wabba said, “The issue of whether Kokori was appointed or not needs to be put into context. The fact of the matter is that everybody in Nigeria is aware that there was a committee that constituted the board of over 500 parastatals.
“Those boards were constituted at the same time in 2017. We have insisted that the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund be constituted. All the other boards were inaugurated but this board, which is a labour market institution, was not inaugurated.
“The argument therefore is, why should somebody be managing our funds as a sole administrator? Let me also correct the lies: the funds are not government money. They are funds for workers.”
According to him, the government only contributes part for its own employees.
The NLC president added, “I was told that, in the past four years, the government has contributed no more than N500bn. But what is being budgeted with the funds of this organisation on a monthly basis is even more than N500bn.
“Various employers of labour, importantly the organised private sector, contribute money on a monthly basis, for the social security cover of their workers. So, how can somebody say that it’s government money? People have also mentioned the issue of corruption in that place (NSITF).
“Yes, there has been monumental corruption, regime after regime, and who are the perpetrators? They are appointees of the government. It is on the record that it was only when Adams (Oshiomhole) was appointed as the chairman of the place that there was no corruption.
“After Adams, we know how (Enuora) Okoli left the place. We know how the former chairperson left the place. Even the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour, being the representative of the Minister of Labour, was involved in the corruption.”