Huriwa To Nstif's Management: Shut Up! You Should Be Arrested By Efcc:
Miffed by the temerity displayed by the suspended Management of the NIGERIA SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND(NSITF) in rejecting their suspension slammed on them to enable the authority conduct an unfettered investigations of alleged heist of public fund, the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has expressed disappointment that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is slow to arrest, investigate these persons over this huge scam.
HURIWA recalled that recently, President Buhari had approved the immediate, compulsory, and indefinite suspension from Office of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of NSITF Mr Adebayo Somefun, among other top management staff of the fund.
HURIWA citing media publication stated that other managers suspended from office are three executive directors, Mr Jasper Ikedi Azuatalam, Executive Director, Finance and Investment, Mrs Olukemi Nelson, Executive Director, Operations, and Alhaji Tijani Darazo Sulaiman, Executive Director, Administration.
Besides, HURIWA stressed that other management staff suspended are the General Manager, Administration/Human Resources/Maintenance, the General Manager, Finance, Mr Lawan Tahir, Mr Chris Esedebe, General Manager, Claims and Compensation, Mr Olodotun A. Adegbite, Deputy General Manager, Investment and Treasury Management, Mr Emmanuel Enyinnaya Sike, Deputy General Manager, Finance and Accounts, Mrs Olutoyin O. Arokoyo, Deputy General Manager/Acting Head, Legal, Ms Dorathy Zajeme Tukura, Deputy General Manager, Administration, Mrs Victoria Ayantuga, Assistant General Manager, Internal Audit.
HURIWA quoted media Statement from the Labour Ministry signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Publicity, Charles Akpan, stated unequivocally that the removal of the NSITF management followed due process, as the Federal Government hundred per cent owned the parastatal, insisting that the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment acted in line with the Constitution, Public Service Rules and NSITF Act.
According to the statement “Some of the infractions uncovered include N3.4 billion squandered on non-existent staff training split into about 196 different consultancy contracts in order to evade the Ministerial Tenders Board and Federal Executive Council, FEC, approval. Non-existent unexecuted N2.3 billion was documented and paid while N1.1 billion is awaiting payment without any job done, all totalling N3.4 billion.
“Same goes for projects of construction of 14 Zonal/ Regional offices in 14 states running into billions of naira- a policy issue being done without Board or Ministerial knowledge not to talk of Approval. This was done in 2019 by the MD and his three-man Executive. Some of the projects are duplications and hence waste of funds, yet you are in the Board supposedly supervising.”
HURIWA condemned the apparent stubbornness of the suspended Management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF) in challenging the authority and powers of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and for doubting the veracity of the claim by the supervising Minister of the agency that the President duly sanctioned their suspension for alleged financial misconduct.
"Why did the minister of Labour and Productivity not follow the right step to deal with this sort of alleged scandal by handing these persons over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for thorough forensic investigations and prosecutions since he is so sure that over N3 billion of public fund was blown away in suspicious circumstances?" "Why is the Minister of Labour treating this grave case of heist of public fund as if it is a mere family disagreements of All Progressives Congress?" This laissez faire approach by the Federal Minister of Labour in dealing with alleged financial thieves is the tonic that has allowed the accused managers to now start fighting back from the same offices that the supervising Minister of Labour and Productivity had clearly indicted them of corruption. If these persons have shame, the least they could have done is to accept their suspension and present themselves to the EFCC for comprehensive investigations and be freed to return back to offices if their claims of innocence are found to be credible".
Relatedly, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has called for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of the immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Law School reportedly indicted in a huge financial scam by the office of the auditor General of the Federation.
The Rights group said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences commission (ICPC) should ensure that public fund allegedly stolen in the Nigerian Law School must be recovered and the thieves prosecuted and punished.
HURIWA recalled that the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation had reportedly uncovered financial infractions in the records of the Nigerian Law School.
The infractions ranged from outright misappropriation to spending without approval and diversion of pension.
This is contained in the 2015 Auditor-General’s report submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Account.
HURIWA recalled that Nine queries were issued by the Office of the Auditor-General of Federation to the management of Nigerian Law School in 2015, according to the report.
HURIWA stated that the Auditor-General queried the payment of N36 million as dressing allowance through the account of one of the staff for 52 others without approval and in violation of Nigeria’s Financial Act.
“The Examination of payment records revealed that the Nigerian Law School several times paid N36 million to staff as dressing allowance in 2013 alone.
“The Management could not substantiate these payments with any approval from Salaries and Wages Commission to enable the audit team to determine the genuineness of these payments to staff. No appropriation in this request,” the report said.
HURIWA recalled that the report also indicted the law school for paying N32 million to an unnamed cleaner over a period of 12 months against Nigeria extant laws. The queries also said that N34.3 million was paid for the training of staff without approval from the federal government.
On the serious allegations that the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Muhammed Ladan plagiarized the intellectual property of Professor Ngozi Ezeilo, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has called for his immediate suspension until a comprehensive investigations on this damaging accusation are carried out.
The Rights group said it was not proper for the DG of such a pretigious legal faculty to be entangled in a show of shane which is criminal in nature such as plegiarism and he is allowed to defend himself from the financially formidable position of a Director General of a publicly funded agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.