THE National Assembly has suspended the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians for the Special Public Works programme under the National Directorate of Employment to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme expected to take off in October this year was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, to engagement 1, 000 Nigerians in each of the 774 local government areas of the country who would earn N20,000 as their monthly salary for three months.
According to a report by The PUNCH, lawmakers on Wednesday said the programme has been suspended over the disagreements that occurred on Tuesday between Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Employment, Labour and Productivity and the National Assembly Joint Committee on Labour Employment and Productivity .
Ajibola Basiru, Senate spokesperson, announced the suspension of the programme during a press briefing, noting that the exercise is on hold pending proper briefing by the minister to explain the recruitment modalities to the National Assembly.
“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,” Basiru said.
On Tuesday, the Minister was walked out by the federal lawmakers, during an investigative hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, following his refusal to apologise after the legislators accused him of raising his voice against them.
Members of the joint panel had summoned the minister and Nasiru Ladan Argungu, the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), to brief them on steps so far taken to recruit 774, 000 Nigerians across the country.
Also on Tuesday The ICIR reported that Festus Keyamo while reacting to the incident said he was walked out by the lawmakers because he did not allow them to own the process.
The Minister also accused the lawmakers of demanding more than the 15 percent job slots to be allocated to them.
But in a swift reaction, Godiya Akwashiki, Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Employment, and Productivity, who presided over the joint National Assembly panel, denied the two allegations levelled against them by Keyamo.
Rather, he accused Keyamo of allegedly trying to build a political structure of 1, 000 youths in each of the 774 local government areas across the country with the 774,000 jobs without the involvement of the NDE.