By Alao Taiwo
Dr. Ngozi Olejeme possesses charm, class, beauty, elegance and a caring sensibility.
Mention Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and immediately it conjures images among Nigerians of this very energetic woman. NSITF has become a leading public organization in the country.
It didn’t take long for Dr. Olejeme to make her mark. A woman seeking ways of bettering workers collective interest, Olejeme’s leadership skills saw to the emergence of the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA).
The enactment of the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA) 2010 which repealed the obsolete Workmen’s Compensation Act (WCA) of 1942 is of immense importance to the workers of Nigeria as the scheme has achieved tremendous success.
Well amongst the objective of the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA), 2010 is to provide for an open and fair system of guaranteed and adequate compensation for all employees or their dependants for any death, injury, diseases or disability arising out of or in the course of employment as well as provide rehabilitation to employees with work-related disabilities as provided in the Act.
The Act also gives the opportunity to establish and maintain a solvent compensation fund managed in the interest of employees and employers, provide for fair and adequate assessments for employers, provide an appeal procedure that is simple, fair and accessible, with minimal delays as well as combine efforts and resources of relevant stakeholders for the prevention of workplace disabilities, including the enforcement of occupational safety and health standards.
What many regard as a phenomenal feat, NSITF) is currently paying compensation to injured workers, treating and rehabilitating them where necessary. It is paying handsome benefits to a deceased employee’s spouse for the life of that spouse as long as he/she does not remarry, or to the child till age 21 or when the child graduates from a tertiary institution. The fund is also saddled with the responsibility of providing social security to the aged and unemployed.
Recently, the British Standard Institute awarded the ISO27001 certificate to NSITF, making it one of the leading social security institutions in Africa.
“With the certification, the agency has strategically endowed itself with values that repose stakeholders’ confidence on the quality of what they get from the funds when they do business. We now have in place a system that can detect the minuet risk factors in our operations thereby reducing loss to its barest minimum. NSITF is proud to be among a very elite group of public institutions whose security practice and drive for excellence in its operations meet the rigorous iso27001 standard. Achieving this milestone makes the fund a leading social security institution in Africa. It is critical to the NSITF transformation roadmap. NSITF is happy to be a global best practice government institution embracing the highest echelon of standards that ensure efficiency and dependency of its operations as a result of its development of global standard information security mechanism” Olejeme said at the presentation ceremony in Abuja.
A stalwart champion of workers’ pension and a highly caring person who loves pensioners profoundly, Olejeme wants the best for retirees. She is not only working relentlessly to make workers and pensioners financially independent but actively raising the quality of life for every worker by providing social security protection and safety nets for all Nigerians against deprivation and income insecurity in accordance with National and International laws, conventions and world best practices.
Though Labour analysts are quick to praise Olejeme for establishing a system of transparency, strengthening NSITF and providing adequate operational infrastructure, Dr. Olejeme is doing everything possible to provide social protection against the risk of sickness, disability, injury, unemployment and old age.
Alao Taiwo writes from Lagos
No employment exercise by NSITF in 2010
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has said that it did not carry out any employment exercise in 2010.
This was a reaction to an earlier report that the members of staff of the Fund were being owed allowances since their recruitment in 2010.
“It is therefore obvious that if no employment was carried out in 2010, then NSITF cannot owe staff it did not employ,” a statement signed by the Deputy General Manager/Head, Corporate Affairs, Aliu Zubairu, stated.
The statement said employment into the Fund was carried out after the passage of the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA) in December 2010 in which a large number of staff were recruited and posted to all branches across the country.
On the alleged non-payment of 28 days allowance to staff, the statement said it had not been a policy of the Fund to pay new recruits 28 days allowance.
“Only special assignments outside of domicile attract per diem in the Fund, never the case in a fresh employment,” the Fund said. Reacting on the non-payment of furniture, dressing and education allowances, the NSITF said payment had started in batches due to large number of recruits involved.
Olejeme Bags Outstanding African Personality Award
The Voice Magazine has named the chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme as Outstanding African Personality.
A statement on Thursday by the magazine said Olejeme was being conferred with the award for transforming NSITF into world class institution, rebranding Nigeria through her style of politics and bringing succor to Nigerians at home and abroad.
The Voice Magazine Annual Award is one of the most prestigious and highly rated awards in Europe used to recognize and honour African achievers and friends of Africa who have distinguished themselves in their areas of calling for the advancement of their countries, Africa and humanity at large.
Announcing this year’s award on Wednesday in Netherlands, the head of the organization, Elvis Iruh described Dr. Olejeme as a living example for Africa and the rest of the world.
“Dr. Ojeleme, your academic and professional records are impressive and despite all the vast opportunities abound to you, you decided to offer yourself for service in Delta State and despite not momentarily given the chance, you have continued to help salvage Nigeria by developing her from within through your various charitable works to better the life of women, children and the public in general” Iruh said.
Continuing, he said “In a culture where many politicians fastidiously enrich themselves at the expense of the poor, Dr. Olejeme, you are widely known to rather spend a substantial amount of your personal wealth on charity. Your deep involvement and total commitment to women and the youth saw you being elected as National President of Igbo women forum, an NGO deeply rooted in charitable work aimed towards women and youth empowerment in 1998. Your various Widowhood Projects try to redress social – economic cum cultural challenges facing widows through empowerment and grants for trade. In a patriarchal society where women have less access to power, leadership positions and decision making process, your effort to empower women is highly commendable; a productive women’s group is tantamount to a progressive society”.
The Voice magazine is the first pan-African magazine published in the Netherlands and the entire Benelux region of Europe. It is dedicated to the advancement of Africans and has been in circulation since August 1999. The Voice magazine is published in English for ordinary readers of the language for clear understanding of African stories. It has become an essential tool of the people and institutions that want to be informed or inform others of their activities, businesses, social events and general news.
“In line with our commitment, we have inspired others and today there are many African newspapers, radio, television and magazines published in the Netherlands which were not there before our advent on the newsstand” Iruh added.
The ceremony is slated for 23rd & 24th October 2015 at Van der Valk Hotel Almere, The Netherlands.
HENRY OVIE EBIRERI
The place of Olejeme in history
By Rabiu Musa
Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, the chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), needs no introduction, especially to persons who are familiar with social responsibility and advocacy, professional management and good corporate governance, transparency and accountability, human capital development and security of investible funds in present day Nigeria.
Olejeme is widely credited with transforming NSITF into one of the world’s most formidable organizations. In six years, the impressive and pragmatic leader contributed greatly to the labour administration process in the country. She saw to the successful enactment into law of the Employees’ Compensation Act in December 2010 and the setting up of necessary human and physical infrastructure for the implementation of the Act. She also brought optimism to NSITF when all hope seemed lost.
But what was the situation in NSITF before 2009?
“Before I came into NSITF, the contributory pension scheme had been taken from them. By the time I was joining NSITF in 2009, the size of its workforce had dwindled to a mere 80” Olejeme told journalists in 2010.
“We had offices all over the federation; these offices had to be virtually closed down. In most offices we had just 2 people each – and skeletal services. So you can see what we went through. And within those years, we did not earn a single kobo from anywhere. The issue became a very big problem for us. Even to pay salaries became a very big challenge for us. Structures started coming down, and in all cases our offices were very old and some of them were being rented. So we could not even pay rent in most cases. Before you know it, all our offices became closed down; all the structure were down, equipment were down, ACs and generators were all down because we could not maintain anything. It was a very big problem for us. Remember that by this time, the Fund was almost comatose. Offices across the country had all been closed, Staff strength and morale was at ground zero” Managing Director/Chief Executive of the NSITF, Umar Munir Abubakar said.
It is obvious that Dr. Olejeme was instrumental to the enhanced services of the NSITF. She regularised the social insurance scheme by seeing to the promulgation in 2010 of a more comprehensive and responsive scheme called the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA). The ECA made provision for adequate and timely compensation of employees in both public and private sectors, who suffered from any form of accidents in the course of carrying out their official duties.
She changed the infrastructural look of NSITF, increased the work force of the organization, invested heavily in the training of numerous staff, kept youths off the streets by getting them positively engaged, re-connected and strengthened the working relationship between the Board and Management and initiated the process that led to the inauguration of a National Working Committee on Social Security Policy for Nigeria.
Indeed, Olejeme strengthened and revitalized NSITF.