Reps probe breach of presidential order on NSITF, others

Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Senate President Lawan

The House of Representatives is to investigate alleged breach of presidential directives on the control of management executive committees of the National Social Insurance Scheme (NSITF), and other agencies.

The House Tuesday resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the procedural breaches of the presidential directives by both the ministers of labour and employment and his counterpart in power, as well as the alleged breach in procurement procedures by the agencies.

Among other things, the committee was given the mandate to within one week, report back its findings. It is also expected to look into alleged “financial malpractices and malfeasance by the affected agencies.”

Specifically, on the NSITF, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, in a letter dated 1 July, 2020, said he was acting on the approval of Mr. President to suspend from office, the entire management of the NSITF for “prima facie infractions on the financial regulation and Procurement Act.”

But in a motion sponsored under matters of urgent public importance at Tuesday plenary, by  Leke Abejide  called for an investigation into what he described as  “incessant and arbitral breach of presidential directives on the suspension of top management executive committee members of NSITF and other government agencies by ministers.”

Abejide argued that an earlier circular by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, had cautioned ministers against such a decision.

“A Presidential directive Circular (Ref No: SGF/OP/l.S.3/T/163) of 19th May, 2020 issued by the office of the SGF, states that the procedure contained in the circular is a mandatory guide and all ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and any other public officer in similar supervisory position are enjoined to strictly abide by its content.

“The circular further stated amongst others that ‘for emphasis, on no account shall a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria unilaterally or arbitrarily remove a serving chief executive officer without recourse to the procedure contained in the circular.

“Some other relevant portions of the said circular include: (a) Requiring the supervising minister through the permanent secretary to refer the matter to the governing board for necessary action. (b) In the absence of the board, the minister shall, with the support of the permanent secretary function in that capacity in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Administrative Guidelines, (c) and the SGF shall implement and/ or convey the approval and directives of Mr. President on every disciplinary case against the chief executive officers in the public service”, he recalled.

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