The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Wednesday launched a verbal attack on a member of House of Representatives, James Faleke, during an investigative hearing over an alleged breach of a presidential directive by him.
Ngige is alleged to have suspended top management and executive committee members of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), although the presidential directive bars ministers from sacking heads of agencies.
Faleke had alleged that Ngige breached the Presidential directive on the suspension of top government agencies. He also accused the Minister of hijacking the NSITF’s budget and removing the board to cover his tracks.
During the investigative probe on Wednesday, Faleke queried the rationale behind Ngige’s decision to castigate the NSITF management whom he described as politicians without following the laid down procedure by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (oSGF).
Faleke said: As a politician, we all labour for this party – APC, apologies to those who are not APC members. And you alluded to it that some of the management staff are also politicians. Will you say it is right to have also castigated them in the media, damaging their reputation rather than following the process laid down by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for you to have taken this action?
“I also want to make this statement finally that, you are a former Governor by the grace of God, you are also a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I also want to ask that you served as the first tenure as a Minister, Mr. Minister this is your second tenure, will you say that your appointment by Mr. President was based on your being a member of the party or because of your personality, or because of your performance for the President at the last election? Because if you look at the result, you will discover that in your Local Government you scored 2,202 for the President while the PDP scored 17,000.”
In a swift response, Ngige described Faleke as his younger brother. He also called Faleke “a small boy” and claimed he was “Tinubu’s mate”. Excerpts:
Ngige: Like my junior brother, they said you are up to 60, I don’t know.
Faleke: I’m 60-plus
Ngige: So you are near my age but I’m 7 years older than you. I’m sure I’m the same age with your mentor in Lagos – Asiwaju and I was a Governor with him at the centre, he was a Senator, I was a Senator, I’m two time Senator, he is not a tow time Senator.
Faleke: But he won all his elections very well.
Ngige: No problem with that. Just like you won your own in Kogi State very well and you are now the Deputy Governor and Governor of Kogi State.
Faleke: Mr Minister please respond.
Ngige: I’ve responded, you yab me, I yab you 10 times. I’m a Lagos boy, you are just a small boy in Lagos. Look at this boy, Mushin boy talking to a VI boy, I live in Victoria Island. Look at this bush boy from Kogi o. You are not serious, just go, I no get time for you. Kilo nse e (what’s wrong with you)?
Watch the video below:
Ngige to honourable faleke: you're a small boy, if you yab me I yab you back. I am a Lagos boy o. you grew in mushin I grew in VI. tah!!!! pic.twitter.com/SQFgh8UMk0
— Terry Ikumi (@terryikumi) July 22, 2020
KanyiDaily had also reported how Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) engaged in heated argument over the founder of Innoson Motors, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma.