Festus Keyamo, Prime Minister for Labor and Employment, has revealed that Nigerian lawmakers were trying to influence who would be employed in the temporary work scheme when he cleared the air for what led to the legislature.
SaharaReporters had earlier on Tuesday reported that Keyamo participated in a rowdy session with lawmakers during a committee meeting over the allocation of N52bn to create 774,000 jobs for Nigerians.
Speaking about what led to the case, Keyamo said lawmakers were trying to have a big say on how the program should be implemented and who would be part of the scheme.
He promised that he would not surrender the program to their control, since their powers under the Constitution do not include this.
He stated that instead of succumbing to compromises from legislators or some politicians, he would resign from leading the scheme.
Keyamo said: "Today, in obedience to their invitation, I appeared before the mixed labor committees in both the Senate and the House.
Excellent senators and honorable members sought to be briefed on the implementation of the special program of public works so far.
"However, there was a misunderstanding between us when they asked why I did not send the program to them privately before taking certain steps. They suggested that they should have an input on how to implement the program. In other words, they sought to control the program about who gets what, where and how.
"However, I insisted that I could not surrender the program to their control, since their powers under the Constitution do not include this. They insisted on a closed door session.
"At this point, I noticed that it was only fair for me to respond to their position before the press, since their own position was also published. In any case, I noticed that the Nigerian people deserve to know the details of the execution of this vital program.
"I was then asked for an apology for insisting on a public interaction, and I said there was nothing to apologize for, because their power to expose corruption laid down in Section 88 of the Constitution cannot be exercised privately. As such there was no need to apologize by insisting on a constitutional provision. Even their rules that can provide for private hearings on public affairs cannot override the provisions of the Constitution. I was then allowed to leave. I took a bow and left I never went to the respected committees that they might want to bend the narrative.
VIDEO: Microphone thrown at @fKeyamo As minister engages in Rowdy session with Nigerian lawmakers over allocation of N52bn to create 774,000 jobs @NGRSenate @nassnigeria
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– Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) June 30, 2020
"After I left, I understand that the mixed committees allegedly suspended the work of committee committees across the country until they decide how to run the program and who should be on those committees. My opinion is that it is equivalent to challenging the power of Mr President.
"I regret to say that their power under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution is limited to investigation only, but not to provide any directive to the executive.
"A committee or committee of both houses does not even have the authority to make binding decisions. They can only make recommendations for plenary. In this case, plenary cannot even give directives to the executive.
"All my life, I have fought for good governance and constitutional democracy. I will not go into government and be intimidated into abandoning these principles. I would rather leave this mission if Mr. President wants it than to agree to the jobs that is meant for ordinary Nigerians who have no godfathers or who are not affiliated with any political party.
"I therefore respectfully request all committees set up nationwide composed of CAN, NSCIA, NURTW, market women, CSOS, youth organizations, respected traditional rulers, etc. to continue their work uninhibited. Only Mr President can stop the work."