FG Denial Spending N1 Billion On Ekwueme's Burial Plans

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

FG Denial Spending N1 Billion On Ekwueme's Burial Plans

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has faulted media reports quoting him as saying that the Federal Government has spent about N1 billion on the burial plans of the former Vice President,  Dr. Alex Ekwueme.

He said such a report was totally misleading.

The minister said he didn’t attach any figure to plans being made by the government to ensure that the former vice president gets “a deserving national tribute to one of Nigeria’s foremost statesman.”

In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Nwachukwu Ngige, the minister said he only gave a summary of the number of projects the federal government has undertaken to ensure that a man who was Nigeria’s beacon of democracy was given a decent burial.

The statement said: “Perhaps the Hon. Minister has preempted the rhetorics of cynics and detractors who could have easily run to town to claim the federal government has abandoned Ekwueme in death.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what he did as a member of the Burial Planning  Committee was to give the details of the road rehablitation 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.
“An unedited video and audio tape of the interview as recorded by both broadcast and print reporters is easily within reach.
“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 the burial rites and attendant expenses even more sacred to warrant such display of figures.
“However, it is important to add that such pieces of information in an administration such as ours that is anchored on openness, and bouyed by the Freedom of Information could be at the fingertips of any investigative reporting.”
The statement added that the Burial Planning Committee was satisfied with the progress of the work and looked forward to a very successful event which has already kicked off beautifully and successfully in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu.

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