The disagreement between the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, and the president of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba continued on Tuesday night over the headship of The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
The two parties have called each other names over Ngige’s insistence that ex-labour leader, Frank Kokori, will not be allowed to head the agency.
The minister’s actions have infuriated the NLC, whose president, Ayuba Wabba, addressed a press conference on Tuesday accusing Ngige of desperation to remain sole administrator of the NSITF. He said, “Ngige confessed to some of us that his major problem with the appointment of Kokori is that he is too rigid for his liking.
He also said Kokori is eminently more qualified to hold even higher offices as against the claim by the minister “that Kokori is not academically qualified to chair the NSITF board.”
Wabba said the union had written a formal communication to the presidency and all the security agencies on the issue.
The union also accused Ngige of recruiting 85 per cent “of his village people in the ministry”.
Wabba said: “It is clear that the minister of labour and employment is adamant on perpetually appropriating the NSITF in a sole proprietorship.
“Nigerian workers reject the manifest intent of Chris Ngige to continue to run the NSITF as a sole administrator.”
Wabba said the intent of the minister is against the provision of laws establishing NSITF and ”all moral codes”.
“Contrary to the lies by the minister, Frank Kokori’s appointment by President Buhari was without any prompting by the NLC. In fact, it was Ngige who hinted us of Kokori’s appointment,” he said.
Wabba said he believed the president appointed Kokori because of ”his history of being an incorruptible Nigerian who has never wavered on moral principles”.
The Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has dismissed the press briefing held Tuesday by the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Ayuba Waba as a feeble attempt to wriggle out of shame and illegality, vowing to remain unshaken on the part of the law.
The minister said in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe that “the NLC can go ahead and picket the Ministry of labour and Employment and allied interests a million times, but I want to assure them that Ngige will remain on the side of the law.
“All the tissues of lies wrapped in a desperate escape route to nowhere by Waba has adequately been addressed variously. However, I wish to restate that the desperate moves by Ayuba and his co-travellers to impose their paddy-man as the chairman of the NSITF will continue to flounder on the insistence knockings of reason as well as the stoic resistance of the Hon. Minster to illegality.
“Hence, we make abundantly clear once more that the provisions of section 4(a) of the NSITF Act are very clear on the sole responsibility of the Minister of Labour and Employment to nominate a neutral, fit and proper person for the approval of the president for the Chairmanship of the board.
“The Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige NEVER nominated Comrade Frank Kokori.