The National Assembly has insisted that the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians must be on hold until Minister of Labour provides explanations on how the beneficiaries will be engaged.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ajibola Basiru and Benjamin Kalu, spokespersons of the senate and house of representatives, said the lawmakers are concerned “about the proper and effective implementation of the engagement of 774,000 Public works workers.”
It would be recalled that a mild drama ensued on Tuesday at the joint Senate and House meeting with the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, SAN, as the lawmakers and the Minister engaged in a shouting match when he appeared before them over the initiative of the federal government.
The lawmakers had accused Keyamo of hijacking the programme from NDE but the minister hit back, saying they were the ones trying to take over the project.
After Keyamo left the national assembly, the lawmakers directed a suspension of the programme but Keyamo responded saying they lacked the powers to take such action
But in Wednesday’s statement, the national assembly said the project has been put on hold because the modalities of how the workers would be engaged needs to be appraised.
“The national assembly is concerned about the proper and effective implementation of the engagement of 774,000 public works workers and wishes to restate its commitment to its success,” the statement read.
“Accordingly, the national assembly reminds members of the public that the legislature was part of the conception of the programme, approved it and appropriated funds for its implementation as part of the COVID 19 response strategy.
“The national assembly, in line with its constitutional oversight function, has mandated its committees on labour and productivity to immediately invite the Hon. Minister for Labour and Productivity and any other relevant officials of the ministry to appear before the joint committee to brief it on the modality for the implementation of the engagement of 774,000 persons for public works.
“In accordance with the constitutional imperative of oversight, the legislature being important stakeholders in the democratic process, and elected representatives of the people, needed to be appraised of modalities for implementation for effective feedback to our constituents and in ensuring that our constituents optimally participate in and benefit from the process.
“In view of the foregoing, the implementation of the programme shall be on hold pending proper briefing of the national assembly by the minister of labour and productivity.”
The spokesmen said the national assembly would ensure that there is transparency in the process.