Says lawmakers want him out at all cost
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA- MINISTER of State, Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, has told the National Assembly that he was not bound by its resolution that the 774,000 jobs under the Special Public Works Programme should be executed by the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, NDE.
Mr. Keyamo described the resolution of the National Assembly telling him to hands-off execution of the 774,000 jobs as illegal and unconstitutional, adding that he was only bound by the provisions of the law and the Constitution that all public officers swore on oath to uphold.
The President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan had on Tuesday during a courtesy call on him by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of State, Keyamo and other officials of the Ministry told the Minister of State to hands-off on the execution of the programme.
The two Ministers were at the National Assembly to honour the invitation on interactive session with the Joint Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity on the implementation of the 774,000 jobs by the Ministry.
Infuriated by the resolution of the National Assembly, Mr. Keyamo said he would not engage on illegality as both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Constitution have placed upon him the responsibility of executing the programme.
He 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 N.D.E
“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 authorized 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. ”