The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Tuesday apologised to the National Assembly over the disagreement with the Minister of State in the ministry, Festus Keyamo, last week.
The NASS committee members and the minister had disagreed about two weeks over the modalities for the engagement of 774,000 unemployed Nigerians in the Special Public Works Programme 2020 being undertaken by the ministry.
Ngige, who apologised to the lawmakers when he led Keyamo to a meeting with the Senate president Ahmad Lawan, at the NASS chambers in Abuja, appealed to the lawmakers for forgiveness on behalf of the minister and urged them to put his mistake aside and work for the success of the assignment placed on their shoulders.
However, Keyamo had insisted that only President Muhammadu Buhari could ask him to stop the process.
Ngige said: “We deeply regret the incident that happened at the last visit, the altercations that followed it between my Minister of State and members of the joint committees.
“Therefore, we decided that as a team, we will come in force and give you the necessary information that you will need so that we can fast track this programme.
“My minister of state has put out a position paper, that position paper, nothing is sacrosanct there. We can still discuss and agree after disagreeing.
“Therefore, Mr. Senate President, I apologise on behalf of the ministry for what took place the last time.
“I hope that this apology will be taken by the members of the committee and the entire National Assembly, because I’m aware and I know that a committee is a representative of the whole.
“I, therefore, request that we forgive and forget. Let us turn a new page and start off on this programme.”
Keyamo, who spoke to journalists after the meeting with Lawan, said the lawmakers must comply with provisions of the law.
He 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.”
- Police arrests protesters of Southern Kaduna killings - August 8, 2020
- Bayelsa gets new INEC REC - August 8, 2020
- WHO commends Nigeria for increased COVID-19 surveillance - August 8, 2020