The FCT Administration Taskforce on Enforcement of Covid-19 Protocols, on Wednesday, stopped the promotion examination of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) staff over violation of Covid-19 safety protocols.
This follows the convergence of over 1,200 staff of the NSITF at the New M&M event centre beside NICON Luxury Hotel, Area 11, Abuja for the examination, without adherence to the Health Protection Regulations Act, 2021, recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to a report from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the taskforce dispersed the members of staff of the NSITF from the exam hall and invited Mr Tesh Kibikiwa, the General Regional Manager, Abuja, who was coordinating the exams, for further explanations.
However, the invitation was resisted by some union members of the NSITF, who almost fought one of the police officers and also threatened to destroy the equipment of newsmen covering the event.
What Head, Media and Enlightenment of the Taskforce is saying
While briefing newsmen, the Head, Media and Enlightenment of the taskforce, Mr Ikharo Attah, said they had to take action following series of complaints from the staff of the NSITF.
Attah said, “We received several calls from the staff of the NSITF, in the past three days that they have been invited for promotion examination and that the numbers of people coming are in thousands.
“And, that they will not be able to manage the crowd so, we should ask the management of the organisation to postpone the examination.”
He added that the Taskforce Chairman, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, had also got several complaints about the conduction of the examination, with some people showing picture and video pieces of evidence of the crowd.
He revealed that on getting to the venue, the taskforce met a mammoth crowd, but the officer coordinating the examinations claimed that they got an approval from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to conduct the exams.
Going further, Attah said, “We demanded for evidence and he couldn’t provide it. So, we asked them to please disperse and go home but that the most senior person, Mr Tesh Kibikiwa, the General Regional Manager, Abuja, should come with us and make further explanation.
“But to our shock, while the entire staff agreed and very cheerful that the taskforce saved them from contracting Covid-19 due to over-crowdedness, some of the labour union members insisted that we can’t go with him.”
Attah said that in the process, the manager and one other director scaled through the fence and ran away to escape arrest and interrogation. This made the taskforce to tow one of the official vehicles of the agency and remove the number plates of the others that could not be towed from the centre.
He said that the owners of the event centre would also be invited to explan why an event of such magnitude would hold without adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed into law the Covid-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010, and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of coronavirus infections in Nigeria.
- The law, which is in 5 parts, includes: Restrictions on Gatherings, Operations of Public Places, Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols, Offences and Penalties, Enforcement and Application, Interpretation and Citation.
- However, the Presidency has been worried over reported non-compliance by Nigerians to the recently enacted Covid-19 regulations.