774,000 jobs: National Assembly halts recruitment amid controversies/ Lawan

The National Assembly has announced suspension of the Special Public Works programme under the National Directorate of Employment introduced to address the biting impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The spokesperson for the Senate, Ajibola Basiru, who disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday, said the National Assembly has summoned the Minister in charge of the Ministry to appear before the federal legislature, to explain the recruitment modalities.

He said: “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.”

Amid complaints over the economic hardship brought about by the novel disease, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the engagement of 774, 000 Nigerians for non-skilled works.

The scheme proposes engagement of 1, 000 Nigerians who would 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 initiative, however, had been trailed  with the heated controversies, over alleged irregularities in the recruitment process. 

On Tuesday, the National Assembly had invited Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, for questioning over the dusts surrounding the scheme. 

The hearing had however degenerated into a hot exchange between the lawmakers and the minister, over the latter's refusal to apologise for raising his voice against the former.

The lawmakers accused the minister of hijacking the programme from the NDE, but Keyamo fired back, saying they were the ones trying to take over the project.

The development had led to the forceful exit of Keyamo from the meeting.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has warned political appointees and other government officials against using their positions to bestow undue advantage on anyone seeking government jobs and other favours.

In a statement on Wednesday, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, quoted the president as saying the action is “antithetical to the character of the administration”.

”This system should be allowed to work for all Nigerians without interference," he said.