Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has denied a statement credited to him that President Muhammadu Buhari has spent N1bn on late Alex Ekwueme.
Ngige on Sunday said Buhari had committed about N1bn on Ekwueme from the day the Federal Government took over his medical bills to date.
But in what appears to be a u-turn, Ngige described reports on his interview with the press on the commitment of the Federal Government to the burial of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme. as misleading and needless.
In a statement from the Special Assistant to the Minister on media affairs, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, on Tuesday, Ngige said no figure was attached to what he termed “a deserving national tribute to one of Nigeria’s foremost Statesman.”
The statement reads “Ngige only gave a summary of the number of projects the Federal Government has taken to ensure that a man, who easily was Nigeria’s beacon of democracy, was given a decent burial.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what Ngige did as a member of the Burial Planning Committee was to give the details of the road rehabilitation projects from the Awka end of the State and from Abia and Imo State axis, all leading to Ekwueme’s home town of Oko, as well as the medical services, the Mausoleum and others. But at no time did the Minister attach a figure of One Billion Naira.
“The Minister is an Igbo man and knows full well that just as a count is not taken of the number of children a parent is blessed with in Igbo tradition, the same tradition holds for the burial rites and attendant expenses even more sacred to warrant such display of figures.
“The Burial Planning Committee is satisfied with the progress of the work and looking forward to a very successful event which has already kicked off beautifully and successfully in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu.”