Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Non-Governmental Organisations Forum has urged the Minister of State for Employment, Labour and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), not to allow members of the National Assembly to hijack the planned 774, 000 jobs for unskilled Nigerians under the Special Public Works Programme.
The group said the disagreement between Keyamo and the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity over the 774,000 jobs showed the alleged desperation of the federal lawmakers to hijack the programme.
BANGOF, a coalition of over 40 civil society groups, in a statement on Monday by its Executive Secretary, Mr Keme Opia, commended the minister for standing up to protect the ordinary Nigerians.
The group posited that some social intervention programmes of the Federal Government had failed because federal lawmakers schemed their way through and cornered to themselves the opportunities that such programmes provided for helpless citizens.
BANGOF said, “It is trite fact that a significant number of the so-called lawmakers in the National Assembly are there to represent their stomachs, their godfathers and friends.
“As such they have no iota of empathy for the ordinary citizen suffocating under the burden of bad governance, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.”
BANGOF also said that part of the Federal lawmakers’ anger stemmed from the effort made by Keyamo to remind them that the country did not belong to only them.
According to the group, many federal legislators are known to have extended their selfish posture to government agencies and parastatals, where they deny ordinary Nigerians access to employment because they are not politically connected.
BANGOF called on well-meaning Nigerians to support Keyamo to courageously push the programme through without ceding control.