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Tuesday, 7 July 2020

774,000 Jobs: Keyamo Adamant As Ngige Apologises To Lawmakers

Minister of state for Labour, employment and productivity, Festus Keyamo has told journalists after a brief meeting with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan that only President Muhammadu Buhari can ask him to halt the process he had started concerning the recruitment exercise for the 774,000 jobs in the Federal government's expanded public works programme.
During the meeting, Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige had apologised to the National Assembly for the altercation that earlier ensued between the minister of state for labour, Festus Keyamo and members of the National Assembly joint committees on labour, employment and productivity on the modalities for recruiting Nigerians into the public works programme.
Keyamo while speaking with newsmen after a resolution by the National Assembly for a fresh start of the recruitment process, Keyamo said, “First of all, may I say that this distinguished National Assembly, I believe that they are the lawmakers and they desire to comply strictly with the provisions of the law.
“Now, it is important that all of you read the National Directorate of Employment Act. You can see that the whole struggle today has been how to bypass me in the execution of this programme and I’m sure that you all saw that.
“Now, with the provisions of the law, how they are going to do that, I don’t know, I have to go back to my principal which is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to get directives.
“By Section 3 of the NDE Act, I am the Chairman of the Board. The Minister is the chairman of the Board of the NDE.
“When you say go back and bring a plan, you are still coming back to me.
“Secondly, if you look at section 15 of the NDE Act, it said the Minister may give directives of a general nature to the NDE. In other words, you cannot have a work plan without coming back to the Minister.
“The third point is that by virtue of my appointment as a Minister, the President gave a directive in October last year saying that I should go and supervise generally the activity of the NDE.
“I don’t see how I will supervise an agency and they will go ahead without approval, the bulk must stop at a table.
“The fourth one, beyond the general mandate the President gave, he also specifically instructed me through a memo in May this year, to go and supervise the execution of this project.
“How can I supervise a project without my final approval. That approval lies on my table.
“So when you say go back and bring a plan, are you asking the that the DG of NDE should go and break the law?
“Are you saying the DG should disobey the President? Are you saying the DG should disobey his immediate boss which is his Minister?
“I will go back to the President for directives. The directives as to the execution of a project is not binding on me.
“The directives of the National Assembly is not binding on me. This is an issue that will go to the Attorney-General at the end of the day for interpretation,” he added .
On the issue of the apology made on his behalf by the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, Keyamo insisted that the apology did not come from him as he had no reason to apologise to the lawmakers.

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