The Minority Caucus, dominated by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives, yesterday, rejected a federal government’s offer of 30 slots for each member.
Under the programme tagged Extended Special Public Works (ESPW), a total of 774,000 persons are to be engaged for three months by the federal government. The programme is expected to commence in October 2020.
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But the opposition lawmakers alleged that the allotment was made to favour certain interests in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the expense of the majority of other Nigerians.
The House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said the allotment of 30 out of the 1000 slots per local government was unfair and unacceptable by Nigerians and the lawmakers who, he added, are the true representatives of the people.
He said there must be transparency and called for the review of the criteria used for the allotment, insisting that the 30 person’s allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas cannot be a true representation of the people they are mandated to represent.
“The 30 persons allotment per local government for lawmakers is grossly unfair, inadequate and unacceptable to Nigerians. As the representatives of the people, we are closer to them and they directly interact with us, irrespective of religion, class and political affiliations.
“All Nigerians living in our constituencies are our constituents, irrespective of political leanings. We have a responsibility to protect their interests at all times. As such lawmakers ought to have been carried along on the allotment.
“Moreover, the questions are, what criteria are being used in the job allotments? Given the 30 persons out of 1000 per local government area allotted to federal lawmakers, what happens to the remaining 970? What answers do we give Nigerians? How do we ensure that the programme benefits Nigerians and is not enmeshed in allegations of sharp practices as witnessed in the COVID-19 palliative distribution?” he queried.
The caucus also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order a review of the implementation process to ensure that the targeted citizens benefit from the programme as intended.
When contacted to speak on the matter, the House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, did not pick his calls or respond to a text message sent to him by our reporter.
The Minister of State Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo when contacted said, “We are in the process of gathering the reports from the field. We will do a comprehensive press conference very soon; we don’t want to do it like this – one-one reporter.”