The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige has responded to allegation leveled against him by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Finance, James Faleke on the ongoing saga between the Minister and the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Fund (NSIF).
Mr. Faleke on Tuesday while contributing to a motion accused Sen. Ngige among other things of padding budget of the NSIF, an agency under his supervision.
In a press statement issued by the Deputy Director Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Charles Akpan, the Minister said Mr. Faleke is making allegations without understanding procurement processes.
“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.
He also slammed the lawmaker for involving his wife, Dr. Evelyn Ngige who is a Permanent Secretary at the Service Welfare in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
It would be recalled that Mr. Felake who represents Ikeja Federal Constituency of Lagos state also accused the Minister of conniving with his wife to get approval of N100 million annual insurance broker deal.
“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.”