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Senators, Reps Committee in rowdy meeting throw Buhari’s minister out

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Senators, Reps on Tuesday walked the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, out of a meeting.

The lawmakers had invited Keyamo to give details of the Special Public Works Programme where 774,000 people would be recruited by the Federal Government under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

During the meeting which held at the National Assembly in Abuja, members of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Labour sought to find out the method of selection of a 20-man committee from each state for the programme.

Trouble started when the Minister was accused of lopsidedness in the process of recruitment of the 774,000 persons across the country’s 774 local government areas.

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The lawmakers accused Keyamo of failure to carry them along.

Festus Keyamo and members of Senate Committee on Labour and Employment and Productivity and those of the House of Representatives engaged over innovative public works job creation programme meant to create 774,000 unskilled jobs.

After Keyamo was accused of lopsidedness in the process of the recruitment, the lawmakers called for a closed-door session.

But the Minister said he was invited for public hearing and not closed door meeting, adding that he will not say anything unless there is media presence.

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Keyamo, while briefing the newsmen after he was walked out the Committee Room, accused the lawmakers of planning to hijack the process of recruitment.

According to him: “They started mounting pressure to me to bring those that will be recruited from state to state.

“They want to me tell them how the programme will be done from state to state.

“I said you can’t direct me how to do that because that is taking over the power of the President (Muhammadu Buhari).

“You can’t accuse me of lopsidedness issue publicly and close the door.

“I did not insult them.

“I only insisted that we should do it publicly.

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“They want to direct me on how to do it.

“They can’t direct me.”

As the rowdy session ensued, the committee decided to go into a closed-door session to discuss the matter, but the minister refused, insisting that the further discussions be held in the presence of journalists. This enraged the lawmakers who told Keyamo to apologise to the committee, but he ignored them.

Thereafter, the minister was asked to leave the meeting since he has refused to apologise to the committee members. The lawmakers claimed that Keyamo has no right to direct the committee on how to conduct its proceedings.

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