The two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday, separately resolved to stop the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, from handling the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians under a special works programme.
The resolution followed motions passed at both the Senate and the House of Representatives plenaries.
At the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele moved the motion, arguing that it was not the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour to handle the exercise.
According to him, the Labour Ministry can only supervise the recruitment while the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) would handle the recruitment.
“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,” Bamidele said.
Also at the House of Reps, Toby Okechukwu, who moved the motion, argued that section 2 of NDE act vests the agency with the responsibility to ‘combat’ mass unemployment.
Rep Okechukwu went further to say that the attitude of the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Keyamo could jeopardize the capacity of the National Assembly oversight role on the MDAs.
“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.
“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,” he said.
At the Senate and Reps, the motions were passed after Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila subjected them to voice votes.
The position of the lawmakers came a week after Keyamo told journalists that he had secured the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to begin the recruitment of 774,000 youths under the Special Public Works Programme.
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