Public Works Recruitment: National Assembly desperate to get me out – Keyamo

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, Tuesday accused the National Assembly of desperate bid to sweep him aside, regarding the recruitment process of 774,000 personnel for public works programme.

Narrating his ordeal at the National Assembly, Keyamo expressed shocks over the decision of the Senate President Ahmadu Lawan, authorising the Director-General of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to proceed to submit a plan without the express approval of the minister.

The minister said: “Earlier today, I appeared again before the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Labour and Employment. Before the Committee sat, we paid a courtesy call on the Senate Leadership where the Senate President announced that I, as supervising Minister of the NDE, should hands off the preparation and execution of the Programme. He further directed the DG, NDE to bring his plans for the execution of the program directly to the National Assembly on Monday, July 13, 2020, for scrutiny and approval. The Joint Committee also took a similar position and adjourned.

“With the utmost humility, I regret to say these directives are against the provisions of the NDE Act made by the National Assembly itself and the Constitutional provisions on Separation of Powers.

“By virtue of Section 3 (2)of the NDE Act, as supervising Minister, I am the Chairman of the Board of NDE that superintendents and gives directions to the Management of the NDE.

“That by virtue of section 15 of the NDE Act, I am also authorized, as supervising Minister, to give general directives to the Board and Management, with which they must comply.

“By virtue of Section 16 (1) of the NDE Act, the supervising Minister has the sole prerogative to constitute Committees for the Agency.

“In addition to the above, Section 6(2) of the National ​​​​Directorate of Employment Act states that, ‘The Director-​​​​General shall, subject to this Act, be the Chief Executive of the ​​​Directorate and shall be responsible to the Minister for the ​​​day-to-day management of the affairs of the Directorate.’

​”By a memo Ref: CAO.143/S.1/T11/8 dated October 18, 2019, and forwarded to all Government functionaries by the ​​​Secretary to the Government of the Federation, I was mandated ​​​by Mr. President to oversee all the activities of the National ​​​​Directorate of Employment.

​”In addition to the above, by a letter, Ref: SH/COS/14/A/1217 ​​​dated 6 May, 2020, Mr. President, once again, approved that I ​​​supervise the preparation and execution of the Special Public ​​​Works Programme domiciled under the NDE.”

Keyamo added: “However, today, the National Assembly swept aside all these provisions of the law and Presidential directives and authorized the DG of NDE to proceed to submit a plan without the express approval of the Minister. This was done in a desperate bid to get me out of the way at all cost.

“My involvement in this process so far is to constitute multi-sectoral Committees at State levels to ensure a grassroots selection process. This was done after an inter-Ministerial Committee headed by the DG NDE made such a recommendation which I accepted. As stated above, I am authorised to do so by virtue of Section 16 (1) of the NDE Act. As a result all the sponsored allegations and attacks in relation to my role so far are nothing but cheap blackmail. My actions are backed by law.

“In the circumstances of the above, I regret to say I am not bound by such a patently illegal and unconstitutional resolution by the National Assembly and I am only bound by the provisions of the law and the Constitution that all public officers swore on oath to uphold.”

Idowu Sowunmi