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774,000 recruitment: NASS leadership to resolve rift with minister

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the leadership of the House has commenced moves to resolve the face-off between the National Assembly and the Minister of State for Labour, Productivity and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, over the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerian youths by the Federal Government.
Gbajabiamila, who gave the indication at the House Public Accounts Committee hearing yesterday, assured Nigerians that the seeming differences would be resolved amicably within the next 24 hours.
The Speaker urged the committee to carry on without minding his presence, saying that he only stopped by to observe proceedings.
In his brief remarks, Gbajabiamila condemned what transpired between the lawmakers and the minister in the Senate on Monday.
According to him: “I’m only here to observe proceedings and nothing more. So, just carry on and forget about my presence. As you all know, the committee on Public Accounts is the only committee recognised by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But again, we have to make sure that what happened yesterday (Monday) in the Senate does not repeat here
“It is unfortunate that the National Assembly is not allowed to operate as it should. However, I want to assure you that the matter will be resolved within the next 24 hours.”
It would be recalled that the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Labour had invited Keyamo to give details of the Special Public Works Programme where 774,000 unemployed youths would be recruited by the Federal Government under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
During the hearing, the committee sought to find out the method of selection of a 20-man committee from each state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory,(FCT,) Abuja for the programme.
However, a heated argument erupted between the lawmakers and the minister over who should lead the programme which was to be domiciled under the NDE.
In the process, the meeting became rowdy and the committee decided to go into a closed door session to discuss the matter, but the minister refused, insisting that further discussions be held in the presence of Journalists.
This enraged the lawmakers, who told Keyamo to apologise to the committee, but he ignored and stood his ground.
Thereafter, the minister was asked to leave the meeting since he refused to apologise to Parliament for his action.

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