Keyamo: Lawan, Gbajabiamila urged to act on 774,000 jobs controversy

The Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CFTIW) has lamented the furore over planned recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians in the Special Public Works programme.

Umar Yakubu, the Executive Director, in a statement, urged Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to urgently intervene.

The activist warned that the unemployed citizens eagerly waiting to be engaged were at the receiving end of the stalemate between the executive and the legislature.

On Tuesday, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State, Labour and Employment, accused federal lawmakers of trying to control the recruitment.

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On Wednesday, the National Assembly stopped the employment process indefinitely.

Reacting, Yakubu said while the legislature remains a critical part of democracy, series of allegations and interference in some steps taken by the executive were worrisome.

He pointed out that there exist several media reports of members “using arm-twisting means to corner contracts, obtain employment slots and demand personal favours from Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”

The activists decried how some MDAs “periodically fund both official and unofficial activities of some legislators”.

“Just this year, members have been accused of getting most of the employment slots in ‘juicy’ agencies, shelving standard employment procedure.

“For example, 261 slots out of 400 contracts given by Rural Electrification Agency were alleged to have been cornered for some members. Same goes for contracts at ministries and parastatals.”

CFTIW expressed disgust that some lawmakers were insisting on a percentage of the 774,000 jobs as revealed by Keyamo.

Yakubu noted that in most of the oversight functions and investigations by the federal legislature, there have been few cases where public officers were indicted, or any form of punishment meted out.

“Most of the investigations have yielded no positive results. So, the monitoring activities have become suspicious, because citizens believe that they are just a ploy to intimidate and harass MDAs for personal benefit.”

The statement advised Lawan and Gbajabiamila to ensure that “the actions of a few do not taint the integrity of such a critical institution as the National Assembly.”

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