✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Buhari dares NASS, backs Keyamo on recruitment

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, dared members of the National Assembly when he threw his weight behind the Minister of State for Labour, Productivity and…

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, dared members of the National Assembly when he threw his weight behind the Minister of State for Labour, Productivity and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on the recruitment of 774,000 youths under the Special Public Works programme (SPW).

The federal government had unveiled the SPW to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 local government areas.

President Buhari, on Tuesday, reportedly gave a go-ahead to Keyamo to continue with the exercise, despite the suspension by the lawmakers.

Daily Trust reports that this is about the first time the executive and the legislature would be disagreeing on national issues.

The initiative is billed to begin on October 1, and each beneficiary will be paid N20, 000 monthly to carry out public works.

Keyamo had on June 30, clashed with the federal lawmakers when he appeared before the joint committees of the National Assembly on Labour to brief them on the recruitment exercise.

An argument over the composition of the selection of the committees of the scheme snowballed into war of words between the minister and the lawmakers. Thus, the federal lawmakers announced the suspension of the scheme.


I have a fresh mandate – Keyamo

Keyamo told one of our correspondents on Tuesday that he had a fresh approval of the president to continue with the recruitment exercise.

In a phone interview, the minister said: “I have fresh instructions to proceed with the programme as directed by him (the president) and to continue to supervise the programme in accordance with the law.

“I stress it, in accordance with the law, with the law.”

With the new directive, the minister said the states’ selection committees are to proceed with the programme as planned.

“I have instructions from Mr President to proceed.

“The states’ selection committees are proceeding already with the programme.

“Nothing stopped them before,” the minister said.

A presidency source confirmed the approval, saying the minister held a virtual meeting with the president, where the approval was granted.

“The meeting between the president and Keyamo was held virtually.

“The approval was authentic,” the source said.


I’m not in the picture – DG, NDE

When contacted, the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Dr Mohammed Nasir Ladan Argungu, said that he was not aware of the latest directive of the president.

Argungu, who is the chairman of the selection committee of the SPW, said, ”I have not heard of it and I don’t know anything about it.”


Programme remains suspended – Lawmakers

There was no reaction from the office of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan as his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, declined comment, referring our reporter to the Senate spokesperson.

When contacted, Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, declined comment.

He said: “We are not responding to him.

“We can only react to official communication from the presidency and we have not received any from the presidency,” he said.

But Lawan had on July 7, when the Minister of Labour, Productivity and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige led a delegation of the ministry to apologise over the face off between his minister of state and the lawmakers, described as null and void all earlier actions taken by the ministry to commence implementation of the programme.

He said the ministry’s involvement in the implementation of the programme ran contrary to the provisions of the law which only empowered NDE to make procurements.

The Senate president said: “When the National Assembly passes legislation and it is assents to the legislation, it becomes law.

“Now, your task will be to supervise the NDE, because as a minister, your job is to be on the NDE to give you how they intend to go about it and supervise the implementation and not to carry out the implementation itself.

“Ours (National Assembly), by design of constitutional arrangement, is to ensure that we do oversight on this programme.

“There is no way we can pass N52 billion and then not take interest in how this money will be paid.

“In fact, only NDE can undertake the procurement process, you can’t in the ministry.

“How can you even contemplate taking the implementation?” he asked.

According to him, “Our committees were right to request for the explanation of the modalities.

“We stand by our committees and in total support of the suspension of the programme.

“In fact, any action taken before now is null and void. You are going to start all over,” Lawan had said.

Efforts to get reaction from the Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, was not successful as he did not respond to calls, text and WhatsApp messages sent to him to know if Keyamo was in touch with them.

However, a lawmaker, who preferred not to be named, said the National Assembly would not join issues with Keyamo.

He added that the programme remained suspended.

“We cannot be joining issues with someone who is not elected.

“We are not on the same pedestal.

“We are an arm of government.

“He is an appointee of another arm of government.

“We are not activists, we are politicians.

“Anybody that wants to denigrate politicians is also denigrating the president because he (the president) is also a politician.

“We can’t join him in denigrating a politician if that is his intention to denigrate the person that appointed him.

“The president was not appointed by Nigerians, he was elected.

“And it is only politicians that submit themselves for elections.

“If he wants to denigrate the president, we will not join him in denigrating the president or institution of democracy.

“We are elected people, we are responsible to our constituents and responsible to our political parties,” he said.

Another senator, who does not want his name in print, expressed reservations on the programme, saying that engaging people for three months and discarding them afterward was not the best option.

“What will happen to the people that will be engaged after the three months? he queried.

He said the N52 billion budgeted for the scheme could be used to set up factories in all the geopolitical zones where thousands of Nigerians would be employed for long time.

“Why can’t we revive the paper mills where thousands can work?

“This has a lot of benefits.

“It will stop the importation of paper materials and employ thousands of Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.


Lawyers, CSOs back Buhari

Reacting to the back and forth between the National Assembly and the presidency, Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, a legal practitioner, said there was no law under the Nigerian Constitution, which compels  Keyamo to either regard or disregard the National Assembly’s directive.

“Much more so, Mr Keyamo is a minister appointed by the president of the federation.

“Politically and democratically, I would have envisaged a situation where all the three arms of government are on the same page except that the judiciary as one of the three arms of government is not a political arm rather more of a professional arm.

“Therefore, I believe, too, that having regards to the constitution, Mr Keyamo would be more responsible to the president who appointed him and could remove him as a minister than he would to the National Assembly.

“So, if the National Assembly has any query on the recruitment process, the National Assembly (though has the power to summon any person before it or any of its committees established by its resolution), may summon or invite the president for necessary explanations on the recruitment process because the president directed the minister he appointed and whatever the minister does, it is presumed that the president is the one doing it,” he said.

On his part, the Executive Director CLEEN Foundation, Dr Benson Olugbuo, said that it was a question of the constitution on whether the president could overrule the National Assembly or not on the matter; thus, the constitution should be supreme in this matter

The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said that there was the need for members of each arm of government to respect and restrict themselves to constitutional responsibilities without infractions.

According to him, the constitution was clear and should be the guide.

“I don’t think it is within the confines of the National Assembly to be involved in recruitment.

“The National Assembly have the oversight functions, but recruitment exercise is not their responsibility.

“The minister (Keyamo) should also respect the limit of his office and allow the agency responsible for the recruitment to do its job even if he would supervise them,” he said.

The Convener, Good Governance Team (GGT), Mr Tunde Salman, said that the National Assembly should drop the thinking equating their legislative oversights of the MDAs with assuming or attempting to do the works of the executive.

“While the National Assembly should be respected, it is also within the presidential powers to assign responsibilities to his appointees.

“Therefore, Festus Keyamo can go ahead with his plan.

“If, however, the National Assembly felt the process has not been transparently done, the attention of concerned authorities should be called upon to rectify the observed abnormalities,” Salman said.

On his part, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said that the minister was right by insisting the jobs should not be given out on the basis of political connections.

“The decision of the president to allow the minister to go ahead with the recruitment is the correct thing.

“It is now up to the minister to live up to his promise of ensuring the process is transparent, fair and such that allows for Nigerians whether they are connected to high places or not, to compete fairly for the opportunities,” Zikirullahi said.

Nigerians can now earn US Dollars by acquiring premium domain names, most clients earn about $7,000 to $10,000, all paid in US Dollars. Click here to learn how to start.

%d bloggers like this: