Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has broken silence on the ongoing agitation in the South-East region by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The South-East region has been rocked by tensions in recent times. Security operatives, police stations and other government facilities have become soft targets for gunmen. Several police stations have been burnt and some security operatives killed, and the government and security agents blame the proscribed IPOB group for the attacks.
While speaking at the emergency stakeholders meeting of the Association of Eze Ndigbo in the 19 Northern and Abuja during the weekend, Ngige said that the attacks in the South-East region are caused by the propaganda being orchestrated by some elites in the region.
In his statement, Ngige wondered why the attacks on the region should be going on if not for the propaganda being triggered by the elites.
The former Anambra State Governor also berated those who have been criticizing President Buhari of being biased against the Igbos. He said that President Buhari has shown friendship to Ndigbo for six years, and that the South-East region has had a fair share of what is due to the region, especially in terms of infrastructure.
He said that a lot of the people who criticize the President that his appointments are lopsided do not understand how government works. He said that many of them do not understand that as a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), he has the power to influence things that come to his state, his region, or any other part of the country where they think things should be established.
He called on elites in the South-East who have been orchestrating propaganda against the government to stop, because it is the propaganda that is provoking the troubles in the region.
He said that people have been brainwashed, and the agitators then jumped on that foundation to start shouting that they want Biafra, because they think that when they are given Biafra all those things will disappear.
He said that about 60 of those people are youths, and most of them are not employed.
He said that the government is trying to come up with ways to tackle these issues, and that it is a work in progress.
Ngige said that some people can say that Ndigbo is not honoured with appointments of Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police or Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). He said that it should be remembered that Igbos have occupied those positions in the past.
Some people have often accused the present administration of marginalizing the Igbos in terms of appointments, and some opine that it is these feelings of marginalization that has given rise to the agitations in the region. But Ngige said that the IPOB agitators humped on the foundation of the propaganda which has been orchestrated by the elites in the region.
He said that Ndigbo is not being marginalized by the government, and that the government has done a lot for the South-East region in the past six years. He highlighted some of the projects undertaken by Buhari’s government in the South-East region, which includes – the Owerri-Aba and Owerri-Umuahia roads construction which are still ongoing, the international highway from Enugu to Abakiliki to Cameroun where the stretch from Enugu to Abakiliki is completed, while the stretch from Abakiliki to Cameroun is still ongoing.
He also talked about the Enugu Airport which President Buhari pumped in 10 billion into. He said that before now, Enugu Airport used to be the worst airport in the country.
He also mentioned the Second Niger Bridge which he said is one of the five legacy projects that is being done across the country.
Ngige said that they are in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which consists of a Minister from each state. He said that there is nothing like maltreatment there, and that the South-East is effectively represented to make sure justice is being done to the people of the region.
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