Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment has threatened to sue the Chairman of the House of Representatives on Finance, James Falake, over claims of inserting N2 billion projects in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) 2020 budget, he has drawn the battle line if Faleke failed to retrieve his statement.
The Minister who accused Falake of either being “mischievous or ignorant of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act or both”, also alleged that he is abusing “parliamentary privilege” and also ignorant of the fact that ministers cannot pad budgets because the final products come from the National Assembly. He also expressed readiness of challenging the lawmaker in court.
The statement read;
”IT IS INSTRUCTIVE HERE TO NOTE THAT MINISTERS DO NOT AWARD CONTRACTS. THEY NEITHER SIT IN THE MINISTERIAL TENDERS BOARD NOR TENDERS BOARD OF PARASTATALS.
“EVEN, THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR’S REPRESENTATIVES ON THE NSITF MAIN BOARD ARE NOT PART OF THE TENDERS BOARD OF THAT PARASTATAL. SO, HOW, WHEN AND WHERE DID THE MINISTER SIT IN THAT BOARD TO CHOOSE, MUCH LESS PAD THE BUDGET?
IT IS THEREFORE EASY TO ATTRIBUTE FALEKE’S MOTION ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE ON TUESDAY TO A CONSUMMATE PARLIAMENTARY MISCHIEF OR OUTRIGHT IGNORANCE OF THE BPP ACT OR BOTH.
“IF FALEKE IS DESPERATELY CLUTCHING A STRAW ON BEHALF OF HIS CONSTITUENTS, HE MUST DEFINITELY GROW BIGGER THAN HIS INFANTILE APPROACH.
”FALEKE ALSO BROUGHT MY WIFE INTO EVERYTHING. MY WIFE IS A CIVIL SERVANT. SHE IS A PERMANENT SECRETARY IN SERVICE WELFARE OFFICE IN THE OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF SERVICE OF THE FEDERATION. I DIDN’T SEE ANY CIRCULAR THAT THEY SENT FROM THAT OFFICE SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN.
“THEY SHOULD NOT DRAG MY FAMILY INTO A MATTER THEY ARE DOING POLITICALLY. IT IS UNFAIR TO MY FAMILY. THEY SHOULD INSULATE MY FAMILY FROM THAT, ESPECIALLY MY WIFE, WHO IS DISCHARGING HER FUNCTIONS INNOCENTLY AS A CIVIL SERVANT, CARRYING OUT INSTRUCTIONS OF HEAD OF SERVICE OF THE FEDERATION.”