FG, National Assembly flex muscles, federal lawmakers dare Buhari over workers recruitment

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The National Assembly, on Wednesday, said it had suspended the Federal Government’s planned recruitment of 774, 000 Nigerians under the  Special Public Works programme.

The spokesperson for the Senate, Dr Ajibola Basiru, and his counterpart for the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu,  who announced the suspension, said the President,  Muhammadu Buhari , could challenge the decision in court.

Basiru read the statement  during a  press conference he addressed at the National Assembly.

In the statement,  the spokespersons  said the federal parliament took the decision   following the disagreement between it and the Minister of State for Employment, Labour and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo, on Tuesday.

The lawmakers also hinged their decision on the fact that the programme did not exclusively belong to the President.

They said it was jointly conceived by the executive and the legislature. They argued that  they could not be kept in the dark over its implementation.

But Keyamo,  said the recruitment  would not be suspended as directed by the National Assembly. According to him, the legislature has no power to issue directives to the executive.

The President had,  a few months ago, approved the employment  of 774, 000 workers to cushion the effect of  the economic hardship  caused by COVID-19.

By the arrangement, 1, 000 Nigerians, who will earn N20, 000 each on a monthly basis for three months, are expected to be recruited in each of the 774 local government areas of the country.

The programme will  start in October this year.

Keyamo was ordered  out of the National Assembly on Tuesday following his refusal to apologise after the legislators accused him of raising his voice against them.

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity,  had summoned the minister and the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, Mr Nasiru Argungu, to brief  its members on the steps so far taken to recruit 774, 000 people.

Trouble started when the lawmakers criticised  Keyamo for allegedly engaging in a lopsided recruitment without the active involvement of the  NDE, the agency that got N52bn approval from the National Assembly to implement the programme.

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