Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has told the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) not to link him up with the rearrest and extradition of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The minister. who gave the warning in a statement by his media office in Abuja said he was too busy to be involved in the rearrest of Kanu, whom he described as a “fugitive”.
Kanu was recently rearrested from overseas after jumping bail on terrorism-related charges before fleeing to the United Kingdom. The circumstances the IPOB leader was rearrested has been controversial as he has since been detained in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
IPOB Spokesman, Emma Powerful, had fingered South-East governors, ministers and federal lawmakers for allegedly betraying Kanu and handing him over to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister, however, in the statement by his office titled, ‘Ngige to IPOB: Stop linking me to the rearrest of your leader’, distanced himself from Kanu’s predicament.
“The Minister, being somebody with long standing experience in the public service, knows the bounds of his office and does not have the time to meddle into Foreign Affairs of Extradition and security matters that clearly fall within the mandate of the Nigerian Diplomatic Missions, national intelligence agencies.
“Ngige is neither the Minister of Police Affairs, Justice, Foreign Affairs nor the National Security Adviser, to start discussing issues of extradition or arrest of a fugitive outside Nigeria’s territory, which are clearly outside his mandate,” The statement partly read,
Ngige said if these false reports are targeted at coaxing Ngige into lending his voice to the discordant voices condemning or hailing Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest or calling for his unconditional release, then the propagators have failed because he has long decided not to make any comment for or against Kanu as he is already standing trial in a competent court of law for treasonable felony.
“Ngige is somebody who believes in the Rule of Law and will rather allow the law to take its course than get involved in the discussion of any issue which neither adds nor subtract any value to the trial process.
“Hence, the Minister has not and will not at this time of the country’s history, waste his precious time discussing such matters or any issue pertaining to IPOB.
“The minister’s earlier views on the ill-advised violent secessionist agitations are well known and can be seen online in his interview with Channels Television aired on Monday June 14, 2021. He is a patriot and firm believer in a united and indivisible Nigeria based on Justice, Equity and Fair-play.
“His position has not changed and is unlikely to change in the near or distant future. He saw and participated in the war and up till today, describes war as ‘evil’ and an ‘ill wind’ that blows no side any good.”