The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, approved a last-minute N20billion contract for the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSTIF) on Thursday – one of the agencies under his ministry, documents obtained by SaharaReporters have shown.
SaharaReporters gathered that Ngige, who had planned to leave his ministerial position, hurriedly approved the contract without following any diligent process to allegedly use the means as a conduit to have access to N20billion government funds.
According to the contract papers, it was a contract agreement between the NSTIF Management Board and one P2E Technologies said to be located at Adeleye Close, Utako, Abuja, and titled, “Procurement of E-NSITF Digitalisation/ Automation of the Fund’s activities and processes (E-Infrastructure.”
The full contract documents are attached.
Top sources told SaharaReporters that if urgent steps were not taken to stop the minister, the said contract would lead to the withdrawal of at least N20 billion from the NSTIF’s coffers.
“This is one of the too many fictitious contracts awarded that will not be executed within this short ministerial cabinet reshuffle. This is an emergency contract agreement awarded by the NSITFMB. It was hurriedly prepared by the Head of Legal Department and it was transferred to one Madam Ijeoma Okoronkwo, Board Secretariat Office Department on Thursday,” a source revealed.
“The said contractor who was already seated at the Madam Board Secretary's Office signed the Agreement. The contract agreement was immediately smuggled to Ngige the same Thursday by the Board Secretary of the NSITF for the minister's urgent consideration. This is one of such emergency contracts in the midst of many others,” another source confirmed.
“If the NSITF Accounts are not immediately frozen between now and next week, a minimum of N20billion will be lost. Minister Ngige had prepared this last-minute contract of N20 billion before he later decided to withdraw his presidential ambition.”
Earlier today, Ngige said he had withdrawn from the 2023 presidential race and would remain in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet as a minister.
In a press statement obtained by SaharaReporters signed by the minister and titled, “Withdrawal of my presidential aspiration”, Ngige said he took the decision after consulting with his constituents and political associates.
“Today, May 13, I had an audience with the President, Muhammadu Buhari, as a follow-up to the one I earlier had with him on May 11, 2022. Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the President in the 2023 general elections,” he had said.
On Wednesday, Buhari asked all members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) contesting elective positions in 2023 to resign.
They were asked to submit their letters of resignation on or before Monday, May 16, 2022.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the order excludes the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo because he is an elected member of the cabinet.
SaharaReporters, New York