By Joan Nwagwu
The planned inauguration of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) was disrupted Thursday as labour activists occupied the Ministry of Labour and Employment and insisted that Frank Ovie Kokori must be the chairman..
Mrs Rhoda Iliya, Assistant Director, Press in the Ministry said the inauguration was therefore postponed. Labour was vehemently opposed to the substitution of labour leader, Frank Ovie Kokori as chairman, with an accountant, Mr Austin Enajemo-Isire as NSITF chairman,
“The postponement was to avoid the degeneration of the situation, where thugs were already manhandling some officers of the ministry and policemen attached to the office of the ministry,” Iliya said.
She added that the replacement of Mr Frank Kokori and his transfer to the Board of Micheal Imodu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINLS) Ilorin, a diploma awarding institution in Labour Relations as Chairman, followed due process and has the President’s approval.
Iliya explained that the President gave approval for this exercise which was duly communicated to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, saying this is also in line with the Act establishing the NSITF.
“The violent gatecrashing and the illegal forceful seizure of the conference room of the Minister this morning by thugs was therefore uncalled for.
“Government, therefore, takes serious exception to the dishonourable actions of the NLC leadership and Mr Frank Kokori as well as his cohorts.
“The Ministry will not tolerate a repeat of hooliganism clearly unknown to ethos of civilised unionism,” she added.
She, however, said that Kokori is expected to report at his posting at the MINILS where his experience is more relevant.
She also said that President Muhammad Buhari had also appointed Enejamo-Isere as the Chairman of the NSITF to bring his wealth of experience as a senior member of Chartered Institute of Insurance as well as Chartered Institute of Taxation to bear on his new position.
“Government will not tolerate a situation where labour leaders challenge or vitiate the constitutional powers of the President over appointments,” she said.