By Victor Young
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has responded to issues raised by the member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, James Faleke, in a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives, describing it as an abuse of parliamentary process.
A statement by the Deputy Director Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Charles Akpan, insisted that the final product of a national budget was the making of the National Assembly and left the minister in no position for budget padding.
According to him, “it is instructive to note that ministers do not award contracts and or sit in the Ministerial Tenders Board nor tenders board of parastatals.
“Clearly, 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 consummate parliamentary mischief or outright ignorance of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act or both.
“If he was desperately clutching at straws on behalf of his constituents, he must definitely grow bigger than his infantile approach.
“Besides, bringing in the name of the wife of the minister who’s carrying out her job as Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation into a matter that does not affect her, trying to impugn her integrity on a function she’s carried out on behalf of her boss, the Head of Service of the Federation, is legislative impunity.
“The minister can bear the brunt of mud splashing on him as a politician, former Senator and governor but not an innocent woman, a civil servant discharging the functions of her office even as the minister did not cite any such letter in reference.”