The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, has denied speculations that President Muahamdu Buhari-led government is marginalising the people of southeast extraction.
Speaking on the importance of the second Niger bridge to Buhari, Ngige said the president made the bridge one of the flagship projects of his administration, adding that he also approved Enugu international airport.
He said: “The president, being a listening leader, granted our requests and made that bridge one of the flagship projects of his administration. The same goes for the Enugu International Airport, but only international by name. The facilities were run down; the runway became one of the worst in Africa, according to an Ethiopian Airline pilot who ferried us from Addis Ababa to Enugu in 2018.
Minister of labour Ngige blasts Igbo, says Buhari’s govt not marginalising Igbos
Minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige
“He told us that this is one of the worst runways in Africa. You can now know it was a deathtrap, the reason the president decided at the FEC to close the airport so as to bring it to standard. He even approved 10billion for the re-furbishing of the runway and the landing and runway lights, a separate contract for arrival and departure terminals are being handled by a Chinese firm.
“As we speak, the minister of aviation has visited the site. From the clip he showed us, work is ongoing with the new contractors working hard to meet the deadline. Why I’m going into all these details is because the people of the southeast always feel they are being marginalized.
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Ngige said that the people of the southeast were alleging marginalisation because an Igbo man or woman was not made minister of finance or petroleum resources, adding that the zone had everything during former president Jonathan’s administration with nothing to show for it.
“When you ask them, they say they are not being appointed as SGF or that Ngige is not made minister of works, housing or power or health. Why it surprises me is that all those positions they are mentioning were occupied by Igbo people under the PDP government, yet nothing spectacular was achieved for the Igbo.
“Under the PDP era, southeast people had ministers of power, aviation, they got all the appointments in the world, even the ones they gave them from that portfolio were abused. They also became minister of finance and coordinating minister of economy, Okonjo Iwealla, representing Abia.
“They also headed health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, Stella Odua, Chidoka and Njeze were all in aviation. So I don’t know what they’re talking about. But the good thing again is that we are only one FEC established by section 148 of the 1999 constitution. President and Vice President hold regular meetings with ministers and that session makes us chief advisers to Mr. President.”