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Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and Employment on Tuesday said he was walked out of a joint investigative panel on the recruitment of 774,000 people under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE)by Federal law makers because he did not allow them to own the process.
Keyamo disclosed this to journalists as he left the investigative hearing following a disagreement between him and the lawmakers who had asked him to apologise to them.
Minister also accused the lawmakers of demanding more than the 15 percent job slots 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.
Trouble started when Keyamo was asked by the lawmakers to explain the modalities he had adopted to carry out the recruitment process and why he was not carrying out the NDE along.
He explained that an Act that established the NDE gave his ministry powers to oversee the affairs and programmes of the agency.
The investigative hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour, and Productivity held at the National Assembly.
Kayemo stated that his ministry was asked to supervise the recruitment by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
He told the committee that he had inaugurated a 20-member committee to implement the recruitment process and that the committee had started work.
But in response to this, Akwashiki, asked why NDE was not being carried along in the process.
He replied that Nasiru Ladan, the Director-General of the NDE, is a member of the committee but when asked to defend himself, Ladan said the minister was in a better position to answer all questions relating to the N52 billion budgeted for the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians under the NDE
Following this response, the federal lawmakers disagreed with Keyamo which resulted into a shouting bout.
The committee then decided to go into a closed-door session to discuss the matter, but the Minister declined, insisting that the further discussions be held in the presence of journalists.
While this lasted, members of the committee demanded an apology from Keyamo who they accused of dictating to them.
He was therefore asked to leave the meeting since he refused to apologize to the committee members.
The lawmakers accused Keyamo for trying to dictate to the committee on how to run its affairs claiming that he has no right to direct the committee on how to conduct its proceedings.
The Minister had on Monday inaugurated the 20-member committees in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by virtual means.
According to Keyamo, 1,000 persons would be selected from each of the 774 local government areas in the country to be engaged by the government in the Special Public Works Programme.