The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has asked the Managing Director, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Mr Adebayo Somefun, to go on immediate and indefinite suspension for alleged financial misappropriation.
A statement by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Thursday stated that 11 other officials in the NSITF were also asked to proceed on suspension.
Their suspension, according to the ministry, was due to the preliminary established prima facie infractions of the Financial Regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct.
The Federal Government said the role of the suspended officers in financial and procurement breaches as well as in gross misconduct in the NSITF from 2016 till date would be audited.
“During the period of their suspension, the suspended officers are to face a joint board and audit investigative panel that has been set up to look into the financial and procurement breaches, as well as gross misconduct in the NSITF for periods of 2016 to date, which have invariably put the contributions of stakeholders in a perilous state,” the statement said.
According to the statement, some suspended officials of the fund include the Executive Director, Finance and Investment, Mr Jasper Azuatalam; the Executive Director, Operations, Mrs Olukemi Nelson; and the Executive Director, Administration, Alhaji Tijani Sulaiman.
Some management members of staff who were also suspended are the General Manager, Administration/Human Resources/Maintenance, Mr Olusegun Bashorun; the General Manager, Finance, Mr Lawan Tahir; the General Manager, Claims and Compensation, Mr Chris Esedebe; and the Deputy General Manager, Investment and Treasury Management, Mr Olodotun Adegbite.
Others are Deputy General Manager, Finance and Accounts, Mr Emmanuel Sike; Deputy General Manager/Acting Head, Legal, Mrs Olutoyin Arokoyo; Deputy General Manager, Administration, Ms Dorathy Tukura; and Assistant General Manager, Internal Audit, Mrs Victoria Ayantuga.
The government asked the executive directors to hand over to the most senior general managers, while Somefun was asked to hand over to the most senior officer in the Fund.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had, however, approved and directed that General Manager, Ibadan Region, Mrs Temitope Akinwale, to take charge as acting Executive Director of Finance.
Meanwhile, the management of the Fund dismissed the statement that it had been sacked and replaced by Ngige.
The NSITF led by its Managing Director and Chief Executive, Bayo Somefun, said the minister lacked the powers to sack the leadership of any parastatal.
It also countered Ngige’s claim that the sacking of the NSITF management was approved by the President.