State Minister of labour and employment Festus Keyamo accused the National Assembly’s joint labor committees of challenging, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reacting to the lawmakers ‘ decision to suspend some of the committees that he inaguarate on Monday, Keyamo said that the lawmakers had acted beyond their authority.
Opening committees consisting of 20 people in each state, Keyamo said they would be responsible for attracting 774,000 citizens to a special work program run by the National Employment Administration (NDE).
But in the National Assembly on Tuesday, he engaged in a shouting match with lawmakers who failed to recruit.
While lawmakers accused Keyamo of hijacking the program from the NDE, the Minister hit back, saying it was they who were trying to take over the project.
In a statement after the incident, Keyamo said that the joint committees of the national Assembly do not have the power to pass binding resolutions and that they cannot direct the Executive branch even in plenary sessions.
“After I left, I understand that the joint committees allegedly suspended the work of selection committees across the country until they decide how the program should be implemented and who should be on those committees, ” the lawyer said.
“I believe that this is tantamount to challenging the authority of Mr. President.
“I regret to say that their powers under article 88 of the 1999 Constitution are limited only to investigations, but do not give any instructions to the Executive branch.
“The Committee or committees of both houses do not even have the power to pass binding resolutions. They can only make recommendations to the plenary. In this case, even the Plenum cannot issue Executive directives.
“All my life I have fought for good governance and constitutional democracy. I will not come to the government and be intimidated into rejecting these principles. I would rather leave this appointment if Mr. President so orders than jeopardize a job intended for ordinary Nigerians who do not have godfathers or are not affiliated with any political party.”
The Minister said that only Buhari can stop the work of the admissions offices that he opened.
“So I respectfully continue to lead all the committees set up across the country-consisting of CAN, NSCIA, NURTW, market women, CSOS, youth organizations, respected traditional rulers, and so on – to continue their work unhindered,” he said.
Only Mr. President can stop their work.” During a meeting that took place at the National Assembly in Abuja, members of the joint Senate and House of representatives labor Committee tried to find out the method of selecting a Committee of 20 people from each state to participate in the program.
However, a heated argument broke out between the Committee members and Keyamo over who should lead the program, which should have been registered under the NDE.
At the end of the noisy session, the Committee decided to hold a closed session to discuss the issue, but the Minister refused, insisting that further discussions be held in the presence of journalists.
This infuriated lawmakers, who asked keyamo to apologize to the Committee, but He ignored them.
The Minister was then asked to leave the meeting because he refused to apologize to the Committee members.
Lawmakers argued that Keyamo did not have the right to lead the Committee in how to conduct its work.
This came a day after the Minister opened 20-member committees in 36 States and the Federal capital territory (FCT) by virtual means.
According to him, 1,000 people will be selected from each of the 774 local government areas in the country to participate in the government’s special public works program.
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