… say ‘minister plans to use NDE to build political structure’
Federal lawmakers, on Tuesday, ordered the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, out of a joint committee meeting of the National Assembly for refusing to apologise after they accused him of shouting at them.
The incident happened at an investigative hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour, and Productivity.
Keyamo was asked by the lawmakers to explain the modalities he had adopted to carry out the recruitment process and why he was not carrying out the NDE along.
He explained that an Act that established the NDE gave his ministry powers to oversee the affairs and programmes of the agency.
But trouble started when the minister said he had inaugurated a 20-member committee to implement the recruitment process and that the committee had started work.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, Employment, and Productivity, Mr. Godiya Akwashiki, questioned Keyamo on why his ministry had refused to carry the NDE along in the process.
The minister said the NDE Director-General, Nasiru Ladan, is a member of the committee but when asked to defend himself, the NDE boss said the minister was in a better position to answer all questions relating to the N52 billion budgeted for the recruitments of 774,000 Nigerians under the directorate.
Keyamo said his ministry was asked to supervise the recruitments by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
The federal lawmakers disagreed with Keyamo and the shouting spree ensued.
When the lawmakers called for a closed session to resolve their differences, Keyamo insisted journalists must witness the proceeding.
The legislators accused Kayamo of trying to dictate proceedings to them and demanded an apology.
But Keyamo’s refusal to apologise forced the lawmakers to walk him out after another round of shouting match that lasted 30 minutes.
Keyamo left the investigative hearing and told journalists that the grouse of the lawmakers was because he didn’t allow them to own the process.
He also said they wanted more than the 15 per cent job slots allocated to them.
But in a swift reaction, Akwashiki, who presided over the joint National Assembly panel, denied the two allegations levelled against them by Keyamo.
Rather, he accused Keyamo of allegedly trying to build a political structure of 1, 000 youths in each of the 774 local government areas across the country with the 774,000 jobs without the involvement of the NDE.