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N’assembly: Keyamo won’t handle 774,000 jobs

National Assembly has disclosed that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) will handle the recruitment of 774,000 citizens under a special works programme not Minister of Labour for states Festus Keyamo.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives took the decision following motions passed by lawmakers.

Keyamo had engaged in a shouting match with some lawmakers when he appeared before them over the programme.

The lawmakers had accused Keyamo of hijacking the programme from NDE, the minister hit back, saying they were the ones trying to take over the project.

The legislators later said the programme would remain on hold until details of how it would be implemented were made available to them, but Keyamo maintained that they did not have the powers to do so.

Subsequently, President Muhammadu Buhari asked Keyamo to go ahead and warned government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) against disrespecting the national assembly.

Moving a motion on the floor of the upper legislative chamber, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele , said they acknowledge the supervisory role of the ministry but NDE would implement the programme.

He said,“The senate hereby reiterates its support of the initiative of Mr President aimed at creating additional 774,000 temporary jobs for Nigerians.

“There is the need to go ahead and cooperate with the executive arm of government under Mr President’s watch to ensure the smooth and full implementation of the programme as provided for in the revised appropriation law passed by the national assembly.

“That while recognising the supervisory role of the ministry labour and employment, the senate notes that the need for it in its oversight and further legislative actions in respect of this programme the need to hold the NDE responsible both for the implementation of the programme and surrendering of accounts for monies appropriated by the programme by the national assembly.”

In a similar development, the house of representatives said section 2 of NDE act vests the agency with the responsibility to “combat” mass unemployment.

“The supervisory powers conferred on the minister of labour by section 15 of the NDE act do not condone any abnormalities or allow the minister to do so without regards to the law,” Toby Okechukwu, lawmaker from Enugu, said while moving his motion.

“Aware that by our laws as presently constituted, the NDE is an implementing agency with the minister of labour, not minister of state, an aberration and indeed an entity unknown to the law, is the supervising minister.

“Mindful that the term ‘minister of state’ is not a creation of section 145 (1) of the 1999 constitution.

“This may therefore be the reason for the refusal of the minister of state to be guided on the method adopted by parliament for its proceedings and his assertion that ‘only Mr. President can stop our work’, not our laws nor our institutions.”

Okechukwu said such attitudes could jeopardize the capacity of the national assembly to oversight MDAs.

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