The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday faulted the suspension of the top management and executive committee members of the Nigeria Social insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, saying it is a breach of presidential directives.
This is coming as Ngige responded to issues raised by the member representing Ikeja federal constituency, Lagos State, Hon. James Faleke, in a motion on the floor of the House, describing it as an abuse of parliamentary process.
The House thereby resolved that an ad hoc committee be constituted to investigate the procedural breaches of the presidential directives by both the Ministers of Labour and Employment and his counterpart in Power ministry on the alleged breach in procurement procedures by these agencies and report back to the House within one week.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance titled: ‘The incessant and arbitral breach of presidential directives on the suspension of top management and executive committee members of NSITF and other government agencies by the ministers’, which was sponsored by Hon. Leke Abejide.
Moving the motion, Abejide said the House is aware that the said members of the NSlTF were variously and collectively appointed into the position at the pleasure of the president, who has approved a laid down procedure for removal of executives of government parastatals.
Faleke in his contribution said the suspension of the management was to allow the minister have access to the budget of the agency in which he inserted about N2 billion projects and single handedly got his wife, who work in the office of the Head of Service, to sign a letter granting him permission to hire insurance brokers for the fund.
Meanwhile, Ngige has responded to issues raised by Faleke, describing it as an abuse of parliamentary process.
A statement issued by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr. Charles Akpan, said the final product of a national budget is the making of the National Assembly, and therefore leaves the minister in no position whatsoever for budget padding.
“It is instructive here to note that ministers do not award contracts and neither sit in the ministerial tenders board nor tenders board of parastatals. Clearly, even the Ministry of Labour’s representatives on the NSITF main board are not part of the tender’s board of that parastatal. So how, when and where did the minister sit in that board to choose, let alone pad the budget?
“It is therefore easy to attribute Faleke’s motion in the House yesterday to a consummate parliamentary mischief or outright ignorance of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act or both,” the statement said.