The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said he was too engaged with his duties as the Chief Labour Officer of the federation to meddle into security and diplomatic matters, which clearly fall within the mandate of the Nigerian Security and National Intelligence Agencies.
Ngige, who rebuffed a statement and series of reports in the social media from the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) attempting to link him with the re-arrest of the leader of the group,
Nnamdi Kanu, described it as deceitful, mischievous, malicious and wicked. The minister in a counter statement released by his media office yesterday in Abuja, warned IPOB and its spokesperson to stop linking him to Kanu’s arrest, stressing that IPOB knows that he does not give room for equivocation or speaking from both sides of the mouth since his days as Governor in Anambra State The statement read: “Firstly,
Ngige did not at any time pay a visit to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, to discuss the affairs of IPOB. It happened that on May 13, 2021, the Minister was returning from an official meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee held in the Presidential Villa and passing by, paid a courtesy visit to his brother and friend, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, whose home is within the vicinity of the Villa Pilot Gate. “Coincidentally, Kalu had some guests in his house at the same time. Senator Kalu introduced his guests, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria and her officials and the Minister exchanged pleasantries with them, stayed briefly and left after a group photograph.
“During this ‘chance encounter’, there was never a time the affairs of the proscribed IPOB came up. Senator Kalu had also debunked this report in an earlier statement through his media aide, stating this same account.
Mischievously, it was this photograph that had been earlier published in the Sun Newspapers that these evil minded persons are now circulating in order to get even with the Minister and Senator Kalu.
“Secondly, the report by IPOB, posted in Sahara Reporters, alleging that Ngige, Willie Obiano, Nyesom Wike and Emeka Offor conspired and betrayed Nnamdi Kanu is a figment of the imagination of the writers and the spokesman of the IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful and his likes, who thrive in mischief, brainwashing and deceit.
“Ngige is occupied, involved and engrossed with his duties as the Labour and Employment Minister, member of Federal Cabinet Committee for Economic Recovery and member of the Economic Sustainability Committee constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari, which is headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, with the mandate to tackle the challenges and fallouts of COVID-19 and post COVID- 19 era.
“Most recently, he was appointed as a member of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) to work assiduously to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
All these are besides other demanding engagements of the Minister of Labour and Employment, playing supervisory role over several federal parastatals under his Ministry.
On these assignments, the Minister is putting all his energy and wealth of experience in order not to disappoint all Nigerians.
“The Minister, being somebody with long standing experience in the public service, knows the bounds of his office and does not have the time to meddle into Foreign Affairs of Extradition and security matters that clearly fall within the mandate of the Nigerian Diplomatic Missions, national intelligence agencies. Ngige is neither the Minister of Police Affairs, Justice,
Foreign Affairs nor the National Security Adviser to start discussing issues of extradition or arrest of a fugitive outside Nigeria’s territory, which are clearly outside his mandate
“If these false reports are targeted at coaxing Ngige into lending his voice to the discordant voices condemning or hailing Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest or calling for his unconditional release, then the propagators have failed because he has long decided not to make any comment for or against Kanu as he is already standing trial in a competent court of law for treasonable felony.
“Ngige is somebody who believes in the Rule of Law and will rather allow the law to take its course than get involved in the discussion of any issue which neither adds nor subtract any value to the trial process. Hence, the Minister has not and will not at this time of the country’s history, waste his precious time discussing such matters or any issue pertaining to IPOB.”