Nigeria’s National Assembly has insisted that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo will not handle the recruitment process for the federal government’s 774,000 jobs.
Both chambers of the National Assembly passed motions on Tuesday saying Keyamo has no business in the process, asking him to allow the National Directorate of Employment handle the process.
Recall that Keyamo was engaged in a faceoff with the National Assembly over control of the 774,000 jobs recruitment programme, with NASS suspending the Programme. Keyamo had insisted that they had no right to suspend a programme approved by the President.
The Minister got the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari afterwards. While lawmakers have cited the importance of cooperating with the executive on the programme, they insisted that Keyamo should not be involved, as statutes have stated.
Moving a motion on the floor of the upper legislative chamber, Opeyemi Bamidele, senator representing Ekiti central, said they acknowledge the oversight roles played by the ministry but insisted that the NDE would implement the programme.
“The senate hereby reiterates its support of the initiative of Mr President aimed at creating additional 774,000 temporary jobs for Nigerians,” Bamidele said.
“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.”
The house of representatives on its part said section 2 of NDE act gives the agency the responsibility to tackle mass unemployment in the country.
“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.”
Both motions were passed after they were put to a voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.