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Exclusive… N12bn scandal, job scam rock NSITF

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The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) is in the eye of the storm.

The reason for this is not far-fetched: the workers’ union is at daggers drawn with the management and board over the alleged misappropriation of the N12billion Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) to the organisation between 2011 and 2014, being subvention from the federal government coffers, among other infractions.

Ripples gathered that the relationship between the workers’ union and the management has not been cordial overtime as staff have always considered being unjustly treated by the latter.

Things came to a head last week, when some members of the in-house union picketed the NSITF headquarters in Abuja to press home their demand for backlog of entitlements being owed the staff.

The Deputy General Secretary, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Chief Joseph Okunade, who led the protest march, said it was carried out to fight the injustice and maltreatment meted on NUP members.

The aggrieved staff who sang martial songs, carried placards bearing different inscriptions like: “Pension Matters: Board approved N350 million, Trust Fund received N200 million, Balance N150 million. Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, where did you keep NSITF Pensioners’ N150 million? Alh. Munir, Do you know?”, “Mr. President, is Dr. Ngozi Olejeme above the law?” Dr. Ngozi Olejeme and NSITF Management, pay your in-house pensioners their entitlements.”

Speaking with a cross-section of those who carried out the protest march in Abuja, they confided in Ripples that the Olejeme-led management board may have misappropriated funds meant for staff welfare to pursue her political ambition.

The sources, who would not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue said they were convinced that Olejeme has a case to answer for the missing funds.

Olejeme vied for the governorship of Delta State under the Peoples Democratic Party but lost out in the party primaries.

A document exclusively obtained by Ripples sheds more light on the genesis of the NSITF saga.

The petition dated April 24th 2015, signed by bonafide staff members of the NSITF under the aegis of the League of Concerned NSIFT Staff Nationwide, Abuja, titled: ‘Allegations of Fraud, Mismanagement and Poor Staff Welfare against NSITF Management’ gave a bird’s eye view of what it described as the “the dangerous reign of impunity in the system.”

The 25-paragraph petition reads in part, “the group regretted that few years after the enactment of the Employees Compensation Act otherwise known as ECA, 2010, which repealed the Workmen Compensation Act, that saddles the NSITF management board with administering the scheme in such a way that an average injured employee with injury in the course of work or even at work will enjoy rehabilitation or compensation as the case may be, the scheme is yet to meet the yearnings of the employees because of serious “Nigeria factor.

“Immediately the Act was signed and ready for implementation, the first move by the board was to engage a consultant for recruitment. The consultant charged hapless prospective employees N1, 000 each. It was quite strange to see a social security organisation like the NSITF displaying such crude mercantilist tendency. Till date the millions of naira collected from the unfortunate jobless Nigerians in the name of providing jobs for them remain guesswork.

“What even makes the whole thing more grating to the ear is the alleged agreement by the NLC president, a member of the board of directors, to the job scam.”

Besides, the group observed that with this loss of proper conception at the inception of the scheme, the agency completely lost touch with what it is projecting to people and has since been mired in one mess or the other.

“The Federal Ministry of Labour that should provide the necessary supervision by ensuring that the activities of the agency pass the litmus test of public service rules abdicated its role for alleged fear of losing face with the presidency.”

The group further recalled that the recruitment that the consultant did was littered with anomalies so much that the in-house union was alleged to have cried blue murder. The in-house union was alleged to have complained to management that contrary to the practice in NSITF and Public Service Rule; officers above the age of 50 years were given fresh and permanent rather than contract appointment.

“Quite a number of former retired or retrenched staff of NSITF receiving monthly pension were given fresh appointment and fresh confirmation of their appointments. As an in-house union we complained that the post-qualification experience for the advertised vacant positions in national dailies in April 2011 was at variance with scheme of service of NSITF and Public Service generally as there was no explicit requirement for cognate experience. But after the 2011 recruitment exercise, subsequent recruitments were allegedly carried out without interview as letters were just being issued either in churches, mosques and various cultural organisations.”

“From 2011 till date, recruitments are done without planning. Not even the top executive management made up of the MD/CE and three executive directors know the number of staff currently in the service of NSITF. The board has completely appropriated the functions of management.”

They further alleged that very recently claims from employers in respect of their injured employees above N100, 000 have to be approved by a committee of the board but in the end, what members of the committee would take as sitting allowances would far exceed the figures they would be sitting to vet and approve.

While government appointed the MD and three executive directors to run the scheme, the board allegedly stripped them of their executive management functions and put the same in the hands of a serving police officer with power to fire and hire and transfer to “Siberia” without transfer allowance.

“In Abuja alone, there are four branch offices of NSITF in addition to the head office. The branches are in FCT, Mararaba, Kagini, and Gwagwalada with an average of 200 staff. Some of the staff allegedly sit on plastic chairs procured by themselves.”

The medical histories of the staff are not known, a development, which is clearly at variance with what obtained in time past, when any of the agencies of government recruited, such workers were referred to government hospitals for their medical reports.

“The NSITF board is allegedly the board of Trustfund Pensions Plc- a pension fund administration established by NSITF with other social partners. In the wisdom of the founding fathers the board of Trustfund Pensions Plc was to be chaired by the MD of NSITF, to be supervised by the board of NSITF as appointed by government. But today it is no longer the case. With the alleged connivance of PenCom, the NSITF board is also the board of Trustfund Pensions and of course every Nigerian knows that over N50billion worth of pension assets is in the custody of Trustfund”.

Worried by the unplanned massive recruitment of staff still going on, the group raised some posers: “Is there any need for such collecting agents? The monthly wage bill of NSITF is allegedly close to N1billion. How does the agency meet the cost of industrial hazards? Yes, the Jonathan administration has signed ECA, 2010, but are the right people managing it? Let an independent auditor look into the books of NSITF, and we shall see how much that place stinks!”

As a last resort, the group has hinted of plans to ask the incoming government under General Muhammaduu Buhari to focus searchlight on the activities of the presently constituted management of the NSITF with a view to reposition the organisation.

Meanwhile, the NSITF has set up a committee to look into the grievances of the workers.

NSTIF’s Managing Director, Mr. Munir Abubakar, reportedly had a two-hour meeting with protesting workers in Abuja.

Abubakar attributed the protest to a lack of understanding on the workings of pension administration in the country.

The committee comprises NSITF General Manager, Administration and Human Resources, Olusegun Basorun (Chairman); Deputy General Manager, Henry Ehhasomi; Assistant General Manager, Legal, Mrs. Toyin Arokoyo; Principal Manager, Human Resources, and Mrs. Grace Benson (Secretary).

The ex-workers are represented on the committee by Mbazigwe Akonye, Rukkayyat Alkali, Ayo Olutekumbi and Joseph Okunade.

Abubakar said the meeting with the ex-workers ended with an amicable resolution of the lingering conflict.

He stated that the action of the ex-workers was able to give them insight into the efforts being made by the management of the NSITF to resolve the matter.

He said, “The meeting has disabused the distrust that our retirees have against the management. Ever since this issue started over two years ago, we have been doing our best to ensure we find amicable middle ground that will be acceptable to the retirees.

He continued, “I am extremely pleased that we have finally found amicable solution to the matter. The picketing of our office by the pensioners’ union has also afforded them to see what the management has been doing and the efforts that have gone into resolving the matter.

“Like I always say to all the stakeholders that the NSITF is a big organisation and it is in the best interest of the Nigerian workers to create enabling environment that will allow smooth implementation of the Employees Compensation Scheme.

“I assure the retirees that management is always seeking for ways of bettering their collective interest. The management sees the retirees as our ambassadors and therefore we cannot do anything that will harm their wellbeing.”

– Ali Smart

Ripples…without borders, without fears

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0 Comments

  1. Sexymama

    May 16, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Ripples, these things are not news anymore. Billions miss all the time..
    Wen it’s trillions, pls let me know. Na Today dese kind scams they happen?

    • Apachee zooma

      May 17, 2015 at 7:28 am

      But someone has to bail the cat. If the press goes to sleep, then society is ruined. The media must stand in the gap, don’t you agree?

  2. Jamezz

    May 17, 2015 at 6:12 am

    This NSTIF people are funny oo! why are you not reacting to the story at hand? instead you are dumping all the press releases you have paid people to publish for u b4

  3. kennieman

    May 17, 2015 at 6:43 am

    e be like say this thing don touch NSITF body o, i smell something fiishy, instead make dem address issue, dem dey post junk praise of their head, breeze so dey blow, we go soon see their yansh

  4. billion$

    May 17, 2015 at 6:49 am

    It baffles me when women get involved in money scandal,it doent sound good at all.where did this woman keep the 150m na? They should stop feeding the pensioners cock and bull stories of caring for their well being. They should bring out the money period. Tif people ole.

    • Apachee zooma

      May 17, 2015 at 7:10 am

      Bros, e be like say somebody just go scoop innocent people money go take am fight election for Delta. There is God o!

  5. Jedimaster

    May 17, 2015 at 7:00 am

    So in other words, people work for 30yrs or more, they hope for a nice financial package to retire to, and then these people just steal their money with no qualms, conscience or remorse. It’s not enough to provide documentary evidence of pen put to paper. People are adamant that they are being scammed, surely there must be reasonable people who can put an end to this debacle.

    • Apachee zooma

      May 17, 2015 at 7:08 am

      The thing tire o. Dem say who he feels it knows it. The workers union is crying blue murder and some people are talking thrash about how the woman is feared. Whaaat!

  6. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Fire on the mountain! Oga publicist, address issues raised, you dey run mouth about awards. Who doesn’t know that awards are now sold for 2 for One nairal. The days of reign of impunity are over. Nigerians are wiser and will resist every attempt to hoodwink them.

  7. shawty

    May 17, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Well we all know eventually that this issue will be swept under the carpet. It’s funny how corruption has eaten deep into every area of this country. monkey dey work, baboon dey chop …?

  8. Ifenkili

    May 17, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Now, let’s get down with this. Shall we?

    Why is it that Nigerians focus on the wrong things? We are talking about a scam and someone is talking about this woman being the best thing to happen to NSITF? are you kidding me. you wrote about award for personality and and making the work place at the NSITF safe.

    Questions. 1. How many people work in that organization? 2. How many more persons were recruited during the period in question? 3. The trustfund whom has it benefited?

    Princess Oduah is a hard working woman, when she messed up people said leave her she is our daughter. Same thing with Ngozi, because she brought some light to a select few does not mean we should forget the fact that she hasn’t done what she was asked to do.

    Why do Nigerians play dumb because they are offered some benefits from a particular person or group of persons then their brains go on vacation to “Siberia” .

    Let’s build this country the earlier we start, the better for ll of us. Or soon and very soon there will be no Nigeria to come back to. She(Nigeria) will be broke and naked.

    • azzeek

      May 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

      Pls let’s not forget history, go back and read about NISTF, their staff. Strength and how their operation is being done, u will agree that the woman remain a blessing despite the alleged scam, is employment now a bad thing? Pls go and find out the employment history of sanusi in CBN 98% was from kano and without any due process, but at least this board sent theirs to federal character to approve it. Even this reporter said mararaba is in abuja. When they ar hungry press men can cook stories just to sale and or get attention. Take out time to make finding of this NISTC, I was against them in media like this untill a graduate that sales recharge card in area 11 told me she applied and was taken without any God father. This institution is far better than any other one in nigeria. They have humane character managed by one housa man, even the woman in question is not always involve in some of this, she has her personal Jobs and a politician too. Just check the highest employed institution in nigeria for the past two yrs, we should thank them than criticise them.

  9. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Which one is Voice Magazine? Please provide link and details. Can’t find stuff of substance on the net. Oga, e be like say you just sold dummy to madam and she fell for it. Junk!

  10. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Did you hear yourself? ‘ …invoke aura of invincibility…command fear…’ Hahahah! What about integrity? Zero?

  11. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

    History, you said? And what legacy is being left behind? Story for the gods, abi?

  12. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Good to hear. Workers who toil day and night should not be taken for granted.

  13. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    The workers have raised specific concerns over recruitment procedures. Please, address the job scam and stop pontificating.

  14. Apachee zooma

    May 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Brilliant expose indeed. So questions should not be asked because of a certain certification? We are speaking corporate governance, Mr Stpaul. Integrity! The public wants to know what truly went down. Blackmail won’t serve. It’s about the people’s collective patrimony.

  15. Jamezz

    May 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    but how long will nigerians continue to allow such things. people in positions of power abuse such positions, workers remain unpaid for months, and pensioners are deprived of their due, while a few feed fat off the sweat of the majority, na wa o!!

  16. Jedimaster

    May 18, 2015 at 5:04 am

    YOU CAN FOOL SOME OF THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME, YOU CAN FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME, BUT YOU CANNOT FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. Let us stop being sycophants, this country cannot grow if we look the other way when people are pilfering and plundering as they please, if someone steals, they should be called out, no matter how ‘nice’ they are, no matter how many favours they have done for certain people. Don’t these people drive on the roads and see people suffering or are their consciences dead? It is simple logic, when the masses are suffering, the country cannot grow.

  17. henry ebireri

    May 18, 2015 at 11:03 am

    The
    Nigeria Social insurance Trust Fund, NSITF has said it has been paying without
    fail pensions to its pensioners on a monthly basis.

    In
    a statement in Abuja, the Fund said it had never defaulted in the payment of
    pensions’.

    Managing
    Director who doubles as Chief Executive of the NSITF, Umar Munir Abubakar, said
    the Fund pays a total of about N33 million monthly as pensions to its
    pensioners. He said what its pensioners are demanding for is the 33% increment
    proposed the National Union of Pensioners, NUP, to government in 2010.

    According
    to him, pensioners of the Fund receive their payments before members of staff
    every month. He said pensioners of the Fund rank among the best treated in the
    country because of this policy

    The
    MD said the picketing of the head office of the Fund recently by its pensioners
    was as a result of misinformation on how pensions and increments are managed.

    Following
    this, he said there will be regular meetings between its in-house Pensioners
    Union and the Management of the Fund for exchange of information to avoid a
    recurrence of similar situation in the future.

    Meanwhile
    a joint committee of the Management of the Fund, NUP-NSITF branch and NUP
    National has been meeting to initiate the process for the implementation of the
    proposed 33% pension increment.

    The
    statement noted that no government institution has started the payment of the
    increment.

    • azzeek

      May 19, 2015 at 8:05 am

      Tell them, I don’t think people read article before comments, so it’s too bad not to see how an institution is being trannsperently managed, engaging his staff and or aggrieved member with a view of coreections if any. Even the writer said mararaba is in abuja. It’s quite unfortunate, let the agrieved pensioners if any produce evidence of non payment. I know of an institution that employed 98% of kano indegen without an interview and qualification yet he was applauded with a first class emir of a state. Let’s commend people when they perform instead of being paid to destroy somes one effort.

      • Jamezz

        May 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        show evidence of the so called emir, and i assure you this people will publish it. they have proved to be reliably, independent minded and responsible in the stories they publish. anyway a bird told me there’s a part two to this story, with documentary evidence. i just cant wait for it. breeze go blow, fowl yansh go show!

    • Jamezz

      May 19, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      ok, so they paid in the past, but what of these issues that the union is complaining about, answer it instead of copying and pasting articles you paid lazy pressmen to publish in the past

  18. de don

    May 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t give a shit if the she has done anything god before the truth is where has the money gone to?

  19. azzeek

    May 19, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Reading this alleged scam aticle one can comfortably be sorry. For this country in the way and manner press men are being paid to destroy people’s endeavors, if u read it very well u will observe that the jornalist had a story at hand, but while in d meeting he was able to discover that NSITF pays their pensioners as at when due, didn’t see any reaction from the aggrieved members, before now how was the establishment? We were asking wether it’s bad to employ nigerians? Some offices didn’t employ at all and they cornered the money, some employed and salaries are being paid and yet people a sayinng there is no chair. To sit down. My brother we should appreciate an institution that have deem it wise to employ persons and none of the staff is being owed a dim. Even the writer said mararaba is in Abuja, hmmm that’s goes to show u how people can go to defame people’s efforts. To me NSITF has been doing very well and who ever that is incharge shuld be commended, I pay my 1% staff accident medical fees and I haven’t regreted it, they responded very swiftly when one of the staff suffered a broken leg at work and over 500k was used to treat d said staff in where I work. Let’s commend them and request others behave like them

    • Jamezz

      May 19, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      guy, read the story properly, all the journalist did was highlight the complaints and petition of the union members in that organisation, do you need to be paid to do that? and u want us to appreciate an org when a union is asking where the sum of N12bn has vanished to? na wa for u!!

      let them simply explain what happened to that money, is it so hard to do, if truly there is nothing to hide!!

  20. Jamezz

    May 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    obviously this azzeek is one of the madam’s stooges, paid to close their eyes to the truth and just say or write anything that launders her image. mr azzeek if you know how to read, the story did not say it was wrong for the org to recruit, but the union said the grouse was that the recruitment was done outside laid down process to make it open to every qualified nigerian.
    you said the org has been up to date in payment of workers’entitlements, did you not read in the news when members of the in-house union picketed the NSITF headquarters in Abuja to press home their demand for backlog of entitlements being owed the staff?

    and truth be said, if Olejeme has no other means of income besides her NSTIF job, where did she get the money spent to run for the governorship of delta, does her income equal the various houses and cars she has?
    in fact me thinks this lady needs to be probed by the EFCC, and made an example. if she is not guilty, fine, but if she is found to be wanting, appropriate punishment must be meted out to serve as a deterrent to public officers who embezzle public funds leaving people to suffer.

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