The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, has declared that the National Assembly cannot stop the planned recruitment of Nigerians.
One thousand citizens are to be employed from each of the 774,000 local government areas in Nigeria.
In a statement on Tuesday, Keyamo said in obedience to their invitation, he appeared before the Joint Committees on Labour of both the Senate and the House.
The meeting was for briefing on the implementation of the Special Public Works Programme.
The minister said there was a misunderstanding when they questioned why he did not privately submit the program to them for vetting before taking certain steps.
Keyamo said the lawmakers suggested that they ought to have input on how the programme should be implemented.
“In other words, they sought to control the programme as to who gets what, where and how. I insisted that I could not surrender the programme to their control since their powers under the Constitution does not extend to that. They insisted on a closed-door session.”
Keyamo said he remarked that it was only fair for him to respond to their position before the press, since their own position was also made public.
“I was then asked to apologize for insisting on a public interaction and I said there was nothing to apologize about, because their powers to expose corruption provided for in section 88 of the Constitution cannot be exercised in private. As such, there was no need to apologize by insisting on a Constitutional provision.
“Even their Rules that may provide for private hearings on public matters cannot override the provisions of the Constitution. I was then permitted to leave. I took a bow and left. I never walked out on the respected Committees as they may want to bend the narrative.
“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.”
Keyamo said National Assembly powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution are only limited to investigations, but not give any directive to the executive.
He noted that a committee or committees of both Houses do not even have powers to pass binding Resolutions and that they can only make recommendations to Plenary.
“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.”
The minister direct all the committees set up nationwide made up of CAN, NSCIA, NURTW, Market Women, CSOS, Youth Organisations, respected traditional rulers, etc to proceed with their work unhindered.
“Only Mr. President can stop their work”, he declared.