- The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, was not present at the the 2019 May Celebration
- The minister, however, later explained that he could not attend the event due to ill-health
- Ngige denied absenting himself from the event because of his current faceoff with organised labour over the headship of the board of the NSITF as the NLC president claimed
Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment, has explained why he was conspicuously absent the 2019 May Celebration held at the Eagles Square in Abuja on Wednesday, May 1.
Ngige, in a statement issued by his special assistant on media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, said he could not attend the May Day event due to ill health, ThisDay reports.
“Contrary to uncivilized attitude and barefaced lies contained in the address of the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, I wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that the minister of labour and employment, Ngige, was absent at (yesterday) today’s Worker’s Day rally for ill-health reasons,” Obidiwe said in the statement.
He added that the minister has been down with flu since Sunday, April 28, adding that “he met his doctors last Monday and has since been at home recuperating.”
It was reportedly the first time in many years that a sitting labour minister would fail to identify with the nation’s labour movement during the celebration.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Ngige was lampooned by the NLC president during the celebration, with the latter declaring that the minister did not attend the May Day event because of the mischief he has engaged in at the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and on the appointment of Chief Frank Kokori as the chairman of the NSITF’s board.
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According to Wabba, Ngige had lied on many issues surrounding Kokori’s appointment and the activities of the NLC.
He said: “Comrades, distinguished guests, a number of you might have followed our recent exchanges with the minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, over his several maneuvers since 2017 to prevent the inauguration of the NSITF board under the chairmanship of Chief Frank Ovie Kokori.
“In all our years of dealing with ministers of the Federal Republic, we have never come across one as dishonest and deceitful as Dr Ngige."
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