Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Wednesday said but for immunity enjoyed by governors, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike would have been a guest of law enforcement agents now.
Mohammed, who made this remark while responding to a question after wednesday’s weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wike’s allegation that the federal government wanted to kill him, said immunity was the reason Wike was not already answering questions on this allegation.
According to him, when he made similar allegations in the past, he immediately became a guest of the police at the Nigeria Police Force headquarters, saying Wike’s case would not have been an exception.
“As to the question about the allegation by the Governor of Rivers State that he has information that he will be assassinated by the federal government in a crowd, I think one of the beauties of being a governor is that you enjoy immunity from prosecution and arrest.
“I remember a couple of years ago when I made similar allegations, I was invited to Force Headquarters,” he said.
Mohammed also answered a question on why the Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, failed to fulfil his promise that he would resign this week.
The minister said it was too early to draw a conclusion that Fayemi failed to keep his word because the week is yet to end.
“I think I read it just like you that he will resign this week. If he did say so, today is just Wednesday. I think we still have the rest of the week to see if he will resign. But I think really, he is the best person that can speak on it,” Mohammed stated.
Mohammed who also briefed journalists on behalf of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said FEC approved a contract award for the construction of Ila-Orangun – Ilale road in Osun State meant to link Ekiti and another South-west state.
According to him, the 34-kilometre road project taken over from Osun State Government by the federal government would cost N5.195 billion.
In his own briefing, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said FEC received the information that gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 1.95 per cent rate in the last quarter with excitement.
According to him, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report which showed a fall from 2.1 per cent GDP growth rate of the economy in the last quarter also showed that the government would meet its target of 3.5 per cent economic growth.
Udoma said the report also showed that there was progress on major economic indices as the quarter witnessed reduced inflation rate, growth in foreign reserve and stable exchange rate.
He also said with more investments in infrastrucure, more jobs would be created.
However, he did not confirm a comment credited to him at the weekend that President Muhammadu Buhari would not sign the recently passed 2018 budget by the National Assembly because it was increased by over N500 billion.
According to him, the document is yet to be transmitted to the executive by the National Assembly and hence, no comment could be made on a document yet to be seen.
Also briefing, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said FEC ratified a protocol to eliminate illicit trade on tobacco.
The minister said by FEC decision, Nigeria joined 34 other countries which had signed the protocol, noting that it would help in controlling smuggling and consumption of the product.
He also said the protocol would assist the country in raising taxes on tobacco and minimise its effects.
In the same vein, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, said FEC also approved the construction of technology building for Nigeria Immigration Service to accommodate data communication command control centre for NIS.