Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says he is not afraid of being suspended by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said this in response to the threat issued by Adams Oshiomhole, chairman of the APC, over the inauguration of the board members of federal agencies and parastatal under his ministry.
The parastatals and agencies are the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Productivity Centre (NPC), and Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS).
Oshiomhole had threatened to move against the minister if the inauguration did not take place within a stipulated period.
The APC chairman said under his leadership, the party will not tolerate ministers who abuse their office and disrespect President Muhammadu Buhari by refusing to carry out his directives.
But faulting Oshiomhole’s comment at Aso Rock on Wednesday, Ngige said the APC chairman was talking out of ignorance.
He explained that the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) was yet to be inaugurated because of reports of alleged diversion of funds to the tune of N48 billion.
When asked if he would comply and if he was not afraid of suspension from the party, Ngige said, “How? In a party that we formed and brought them in? The man is talking out of ignorance. I’m not afraid of suspension.”
Ngige had earlier written to Oshiomhole over the issue
He said: “Our national chairman, I am in receipt of a letter referenced APC/NHDQ/ GEN-S/28/018/003 dated July 11, 2018, which was sent from your office and received by me on July 12, 2018. Ordinarily, I would not believe the letter was from you except for the barrage of media statements that came before I saw the letter. I read the contents of this letter with both amazement and utter disbelief.”
The minister said he had reconstituted three boards out of the four agencies and parastatals under his ministry, but has not been able to constitute the board of NSITF because of cases of financial malfeasance, which have put the agency under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).