National Assembly suspends recruitment for 774,000 FG jobs over disagreement with Minister

National Assembly suspends recruitment for 774,000 FG jobs over disagreement with Minister

  • Keyamo’s behaviour act of rascality – Sen Ubah

The National Assembly on Wednesday said it has suspended the 774, 000 Federal Government’s Public Works Programme until proper briefing by Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige.

Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Representative Benjamin Kalu, said in a joint statement in Abuja on Wednesday that “the National Assembly is concerned about the proper and effective implementation of the engagement of 774, 000 public workers and wishes to restate its commitment to its success.”

Members of the National Assembly had on Tuesday, walked out the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo,  during an investigative hearing over the 774,000 jobs offer of the Federal Government.

Keyamo had accused the Senators and members of the House of Representatives of trying to hijack the recruitment of 774,000 jobs by the Federal Government.

Keyamo, who is coordinating the recruitment later issued a statement stating: “I regret to say that their powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution is only limited to investigations, but NOT TO GIVE ANY DIRECTIVE TO THE EXECUTIVE. A Committee or Committees of both Houses do not even have powers to pass binding Resolutions. They can only make recommendations to Plenary. In this case, even Plenary CANNOT give DIRECTIVES to the Executive.

“I therefore, respectfully further direct all the Committees set up nationwide made up of CAN, NSCIA, NURTW, Market Women, CSOS, Youth Organisations, respected traditional rulers, etc to proceed with their work unhindered. Only Mr. President can stop their work.”

But the joint statement by both chambers of the National Assembly reminded the public that the legislature was part of the conception of the programme, approved it and appropriated funds for its implementation as part of the COVID-19 response strategy.

“The National Assembly, in line with its constitutional oversight function, had mandated its Committees on Labour and Productivity to immediately invite the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and any other relevant officials of the ministry to appear before the joint committee. This is to brief it on the modality for the implementation of the engagement of 774,000 persons for public works.

“In accordance with the constitutional imperative of oversight, the legislature being important stakeholders in the democratic process, and elected representatives of the people, needed to be appraised of modalities for implementation for effective feedback to our constituents.

“And in ensuring that our constituents optimally participate in and benefit from the process.

“The National Assembly will ensure transparency of the process just as done with the National Social Register by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and social Development”, they said in the statement.

“Oversight function is to  ensure that the money is used for the purpose for which it is used and in accordance with our oath and the oath of the minister and the President.

“That is to act in the interest of the state without fear or favour, affection or ill will,” the statement qouted them as saying.

They further said that if the president “sees that their power is being encroached, they can approach the court of law.

“The conception of the programme, its approval and its funding is with the consent of the national assembly.”

Meanwhile, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP-Anambra), while briefing journalists on the issue in Abuja said that the action by Keyamo “was a very bad display of rascality. I don’t know what a senator will be doing with a job of N20,000 or N30,000 if not to make sure that it is given to the people in the constituency.

“If that job is given to us, it will be shared equally or a percentage of it to be given to senators. We will take it back to the people we are representing but giving it to people who will go and mortgage it and sell it or hand it to an agency that will market it is totally unacceptable to the Nigerian Senate,” he said.

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