The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, has directed all the Selection Committees for the recruitment of 774,000 workers for Special Public works Programme nationwide, despite the suspension of the process by the National Assembly Joint Committees on Labour.
The minister had earlier in the day appeared before the committees to defend the process of recruitment for the special works but the session ended in controversy as he was walked out following his refusal to apologise to the legislators who accused him of raising his voice against them.
Keyamo, in a statement, however, said the lawmakers wanted to take control of the selection process which he refused because, according to him, their constitutional powers did not extend to that.
He insisted that the purported suspension of the selection process into the Special Public Works programme by the Joint Committees could not stand, noting that they were not empowered by the constitution to do so.
Keyamo said; “After I left, I understand that the Joint Committees purportedly suspended the work of the Selection Committees nationwide until they decide how the programme should be run and who should be in those Committees. My opinion is that it is tantamount to challenging the powers of Mr. President.
“I regret to say that their powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution is only limited to investigations, but NOT TO GIVE ANY DIRECTIVE TO THE EXECUTIVE.
“A Committee or Committees of both Houses do not even have powers to pass binding Resolutions. They can only make recommendations to Plenary. In this case, even Plenary CANNOT give DIRECTIVES to the Executive.
“All my life, I have fought for good governance and constitutional democracy. I will not come into government and be intimidated to abandon those principles. I will rather leave this assignment, if Mr. President so directs than compromise the jobs meant for ordinary Nigerians who have no Godfathers or who are not affiliated to any political party.
He insisted that only President Muhammadu Buhari has the power to stop the work of the Selection Committees, directing them to proceed with their work.