National Assembly summons Ngige – The National Assembly has summoned the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, over alleged recruitment scam at the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund.
Ngige is to appear before the lawmakers on Tuesday (today).
The Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity issued the summon on Tuesday when officials of the NSITF appeared before it.
The committee, while accusing Ngige of impunity and gross abuse of office, cancelled all employments by the ministry between July and September 2016.
Also summoned by the National Assembly were the Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Shettima Bukar-Abba; and Managing Director of NSITF, Umar Munir Abubakar.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, while criticising the skewed employment allegedly overseen by Ngige, stated that the exercise was in violation of the Federal Character principle.
He said, “Employment is of paramount importance and the committee will ensure that employment is done in a manner that reflects the principles of Federal Character. I think there’s something going on in NSITF that no one is willing to talk about. It is clear that the minister, Chris Ngige, is responsible for these irregularities, impunity and anomalies, resulting in gross abuse of his office and we’ll take action on it.”
The chairman also urged the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the development which, he said, was intended to indict the committee.
According to Nazif, Ngige’s state, Anambra, had 44 slots out of the 131 available, with some states such as Katsina and Kwara getting one and none, respectively.
“We want you, Senator Ita Enang, to inform the President about it because he (Ngige) is trying to put this committee in trouble. Anambra has 44, while other states have two or even one,” he said.
Enang, in his response, assured the committee of the Presidency’s readiness to address the issue of lopsidedness in employment in government parastatals and agencies, adding that the Federal Character principle would be strictly complied with.
He said, “Let me just say that I just received this document this morning. I will relate back with the Executive on this and we will speak with the committee and make a representation. And where we’ve gone wrong, we will address it.
“Federal Character is compulsory and we’ll address it. I apologise it has to come to this level before we address it. I’ve listened to the hard sentiments lawfully expressed and therefore apologise,” Enang said.