The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has detailed reasons for the recurring breakdown in law and order across the South-East zone.
Ngige made this call when he spoke at an emergency stakeholders meeting of the Association of Eze Ndigbo in the 19 Northern States and Abuja during the weekend.
According to the Minister, propaganda made by some unnamed elite led to several attacks on the five states in the region.
Ngige mused on why repeated attacks happened unchecked if not the propaganda orchestrated by the elite.
He maintained that President Buhari had shown friendship to Ndigbo for six years, adding that the South-East had gotten a fair share of what is due to the zone, especially infrastructure wise.
“There is no maltreatment there. We are in the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which is composed of a minister per state.
“But we have one extra ministerial slot. So, the South East is effectively represented to ensure justice is done to our people.
“We are there to talk when there is no justice,” he said.
He further criticised critics who accused President Buhari of lopsided appointments.
Ngige stated that the people should stop talking about it because they don’t know how government works, saying Igbos had enjoyed key positions in the past.
According to him, “People can say that we are not honoured with appointments of Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Army Staff and Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF). These are positions we have enjoyed before in the Nigerian Federation.
”We had two Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs), Ogbonnaya Onovo and Mike Okiro. We had an SGF, Senator Pius Anyim. We had four Senate Presidents. Twice we produced Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, Ike Ekweremadu and Emeka Ihedioha respectively.
“They were in charge of federal budgets for eight years from 2007 to 2015. That is the rule in the National Assembly.
“So, if you now talk about appointments, it becomes a matter of perception. I won’t blame them. Perception and reality are in the same line.
“A lot of them don’t understand how government works. A lot of them don’t understand that I, as a member of FEC can influence things that will come to my State, my zone or any other area and where we think things should be sited or done in Nigeria.
”For me, those people perceiving that are ignorant. I don’t want to use the word mischievous. But much more importantly, propaganda against the government by the elite in the South-East should stop because it is that propaganda that provoked troubles that we are now noticing.
”People have been brainwashed and the separatists humped on that foundation to now shout from the rooftops that we will give you Biafra and when we give you Biafra, all these things will disappear.
“There is no country that does not have its own problems. We have economic problems here and that is why we have unemployment and of course, we have a youth bulge in our population.
“About 60 per cent of them are youths and a lot of them are unemployed.
“So, the government is devising ways to tackle that. It is a work in progress.”
By Mayowa Oladeji
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