Ngige dis­owns N1b ex­pen­di­ture for Ek­wueme’s burial rites

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - From Collins Olayinka, Abuja

THem­i­nis­ter of Labour and Em­ploy­ment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has de­nied say­ing the Fed­eral Govern­ment would spend N1 bil­lion on the burial rites of for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Alex Ek­wueme. A state­ment by the Deputy Di­rec­tor, Press Di­rec­torate of the min­istry, Samuel Olowookere, in Abuja yes­ter­day claimed the state­ment was mis­lead­ing and need­less.

Ngige said he did not men­tion any fig­ure to Ek­wueme’s burial rites but that the for­mer vice pres­i­dent de­serves “a de­serv­ing na­tional trib­ute to one of Nige­ria’s fore­most States­man.”

How­ever, Ngige ac­cepted that he gave a summary of the num­ber of projects the Fed­eral Govern­ment has taken to en­sure that a man who eas­ily was Nige­ria’s bea­con of democ­racy was given a de­cent burial.

His words: “Per­haps the Min­is­ter has pre-empted the rhetoric’s of cyn­ics and de­trac­tors who could have eas- ily run to town to claim the Fed­eral Govern­ment has aban­doned Ek­wueme in death.

“For the avoid­ance of doubt, what he did as a mem­ber of the Burial Plan­ning Com­mit­tee was to give the de­tails of the road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion projects from the Awka end of the state and from Abia and Imo State axis, all lead­ing to Ek­wueme’s home town of Oko, as well as the med­i­cal ser­vices, the Mau­soleum and others. But at no time did the min­is­ter at­tach a fig­ure of one bil­lion naira.

“An unedited video and au­dio tape of the in­ter­view as recorded by both broad­cast and print re­porters is eas­ily within reach.”

The state­ment added that as an Igbo man, Ngige knows that just as a count is not taken of the num­ber of chil­dren a par­ent is blessed with in Igbo tra­di­tion, the same tra­di­tion holds the burial rites and at­ten­dant ex­penses even more sa­cred to war­rant such dis­play of fig­ures.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.