ABUJA – The Federal government has declared that governing boards lack powers to suspend or remove chief executive officers of their agencies or institutions.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, made the declaration before a gathering of governing boards of federal parastatals, universities and medical centres on Monday in Abuja.
The meeting was an induction programme for batches 2,3 and 4 governing board members of federal parastatals, universities and medical centres.
The declaration may put to rest the crises that have engulfed National Health Insurance Scheme where its governing board had suspended executive secretary of the scheme, Prof. Yusuf Usman, but the executive secretary adamantly remained in office for over a week at the time of filing this report.
While the governing board threatened to resign if the executive secretary did not obey its directive, majority of workers who are against him have refused to work and have been protesting every day at the gate of the organization. Yusuf enters the premises daily with the help of gun-wielding police, even as Nigerians who are enrolled on the scheme continue to bear the consequences of the crises.
He was suspended on Thursday October 18 for three months over alleged fraud, insurbonation, criminal breach of Procurement Act, self-aggrandizement, arbitrariness among other offences.The Council, through its chairperson, Dr (Mrs.) Enyantu Ifenne, said an administrative panel had been constituted to probe him. The panel was given three months to submit its report.
The Secretary to the government, while addressing the boards and councils in Abuja on Monday gave a clear warning: “Some of the issues that have become recurring decimals are undue interference by board chairmen in the day to day activities of the respective agencies, blatant disregard for extant regulations guiding and restricting of board meetings.
“Issuing directives to staff without recourse to the chief executive officer, thereby undermining authority and creating disharmony among personnel, imposing disciplinary measures on chief executives without recourse to laid down procedure and approval from supervision authorities and using the labour unions as agents of distraction in the parastatals, among others. “We should desist from these actions and utterances that continue to ridicule the government.”
Part of a press statement made available to our correspondent on the meeting by Olusegun Ogunkayode, on behalf of Director of Press at the Secretary’s office, reads:
“The inaugural edition of the programme held between 26th – 28th July, 2018, recorded a huge success and the programme had promoted effective and good corporate governance. However, the SGF noted that one or two of the Boards that attended the programme failed to understand their roles and responsibilities. ‘The SGF also stated that this Induction Programme is particularly important and it came at a time when the nation is poised for a holistic transformation process that is heralding the entrenchment of good and purposeful governance in our country which is anchored on Security, anti-corruption and economic growth.
“Mustapha said that Parastatals are established to provide Services and are under the supervision of the Presidency or a Minister. He added that ‘the roles of Governing Boards/Councils as the case maybe, are prescribed by the statutes, guidelines and extant circulars.’
“He further said that the Governing Boards/Councils headed by the Chairman are ‘stricto senso’ to provide policy direction and implementation of programmes and projects designed and funded for the achievement of the mandates of their respective Parastatals.
“The SGF used the occasion to highlight the roles and responsibilities of the Governing Boards as being provided by the Statutes, guidelines and extant circulars. This according to him include: Statutory Boards/Councils shall set operational and administrative policies in accordance with government policy directives and shall supervise the implementations of such polices. A Board shall not be involved directly in the day to day management of a Parastatal or an Agency. A Minister exercises control of Parastatals at policy level through the Board of the Parastatal and that Board must operate on part time bases.”