A popular Civil Society Organization, Keep Hope Alive, has accused the Executive Management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) of allegedly engaging in unabated job racketeering and committing fraud amounting to approximately N2.1 billion on the guise of Tax Liability within the period of 2019 to 2022.
According to Keep Hope Alive, which has spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT, the NSITF management has been involved in the demotion of staff and the prevention of their promotion for a period of six years, maintaining that the practice goes against the principles and practices of public service.
The group who made these accusations in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos, also accused the management of NISTF of creating an imaginary vacancy in the Fund which they said was been sold to the highest bidder and cronies of the Executive Managements and Minister of State for Labour thereby jettisoning all the statutory due process (Advertisement) Merits and Federal Character that will lead to credible employment.
They said that they were aware of plans that have already been put in place to buy a bullet proof SUV jeep for the Minister of State for Labour, Mrs Nkiruka Onyejocha, lamenting that the money is to be pulled from funds that were meant for Employees Compensation in the eventuality of any work related accident or injuries.
The group therefore, called on President Bola Tinubu to step in and rescue the Fund from imminent collapse in the hands of the current handlers of the Fund.
Below is the full statement:
THE ROT IN NIGERIA SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND NSITF
“The year 2024 came in as a rude shock to staff of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund when her Management resolved to create tension in the work space by embarking on unfriendly and corrupt tendencies”
“The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund is an Agency of the Federal Government under the Ministry of Labour and Employment now headed by Hon Nkiruka Onyejocha as the Minister of State after Senator Simon Lalong resigned and moved to the Red Chamber of NASS
“The Employee Compensation Act empowered the NSITF to implement the Employee Compensation Scheme as the only Social Security Organization in Nigeria and a member of the International Labor Organization, ILO.
“An organization that’s entrusted with PUBLIC FUNDS ought to be prudent in the Management of resources both human and otherwise.
“An imaginary vacancy in the FUND is been SOLD to the highest bidder and cronies of the Executive Management and Minister of State for Labour thereby jettisoning due process (Advertisement) Merits and Federal Character. Similar act was carried out in the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with reckless abandonment to due process and without considering if there is a need for the employment or not whereas, there is a lingering issue in NSITF that has to do with establishment issues within the FUND where staff were DEMOTED and compelled to spend six (6) years on a grade level, a practice that negates the principle and practices of public service and the issue is still been considered by the Ministerial Committee to ascertain whether PRINCIPAL MANAGERS (PM’s) that have spent EIGHT (8) YEARS on the same rank and have not been PROMOTED yet employment are been made to bring in new people from outside leading to the stagnation of staff within the Fund.
“Also, during the last administration, over N2.1Billon was deducted from staff consequential adjustment in the name of TAX LIABILITY within the period of 2019 to 2022 yet, the NSITF Mgt has owned up to the fact that such TAX hasn’t been REMITTED to the relevant authorities because all efforts to demand for evidence of remittance by stakeholders in the Fund has proved abortive as the Union leadership has been arm twisted or out muscled by the NSITF Management and so far, it seems that the Union Leadership has compromised with the Management.
“The Retirement Savings Account (RSA)that’s statutory and has been deducted from staff salary dating back from 2013 to 2020 (OVER THE PERIOD OF TWENTY MONTHS) was not REMITTED to individual staff PENSION FUND ADMINISTRATOR till date despite the Management entering into an MOU with staff to defray it within a specific period of time but deliberately refused to fulfill this statutory obligation despite the intervention of the former Permanent secretary of ministry of labour and employment, Mrs. Kachollom Daju.
“In the same vain, staff National Housing Fund NHF STATUTORY DEDUCTIONS that is been debited from staff over the period of TEN (10) YEARS but yet staff NHF balances are still ZERO till date and such statutory Deductions cannot be accounted for by NSITF Management. An act that’s criminal and punishable under the law.
“Currently, there are plans in place to buy a BULLET PROOF SUV JEEP for the MINISTER OF STATE FOR LABOUR, MRS NKIRUKA ONYEJOCHA.In the same manner, the MD/CE is travelling round the world to earn herself a homogous DTA. A pull of FUND that’s meant for Employees Compensation in the eventuality of any work related accident or injuries is been squandered recklessly without proper accountability. As we speak, committees are been set up and inaugurated on reckless procurements of items that do not add value to the Fund nor her employees and this money that’s been held in TRUST is been misused and not for the purpose of which the NSITF MANDATE was established.
“An elephant project of E- NSITF during the last administration,under the supervision of Dr Chris Ngige with a whooping sum of 15B Naira with a contract clause of 7.5% interest of any contribution made to the fund for the next 15 years was nothing but a scam and should be probed and investigated. The staff does not have working tools like computers, printers and even seats (chairs) in a good number of branches of the Fund where staff come to the office and remain in their cars after signing the attendance register while others sit on the floor.The procurement done in the past has been a case of misplacement of priority focusing on consultancy services that doesn’t exist but rather a ploy to loot money from the fund.
“From all indications, we’ve observed that the Domestic Union has tried to a large extent but their silence on these germane issues bedeviling the staff of the Fund indicates that they have compromised in their negotiations with the management hence we the KEEP HOPE ALIVE GROUP have taken up the struggle on behalf of staff of the Fund.
“Some staff are stagnated in Principal Manager after seating for and have passed the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) Examination, yet the Executive Managements refused to promote them to Management cadre rather choose to employ inexperienced applicants to fill such vacancies to the detriments of the experienced staff. The Ministerial Committee that was set up by the formal Minister, Senator Simon Lalong has long submitted their report and instead of them to look into the reports and implement the recommendations inorder to achieve a harmonious working environment, they choose to remain silent over the issues of stagnanting STAFF all in the name of *they lack the required skills to be promoted* and these are staff that has spent over 10 years in the Fund, they are now been made to spend more than six (6) years in a particular rank yet new people are been SOLD JOB to in the rank of AGM and above.
“NSITF is the only place where they employ AGM – GM against the provision of the staff condition of service of first looking inward to fill in vacancies. The atrocities in NSITF being carried out by the Management in broad day light is against the RENEWED HOPE AGENDA of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu towards Nigerians hence, we are calling on Mr. President to quickly step in and rescue the Fund from imminent collapse in the hands of the current handlers of the Fund.