774,000 jobs: Reps reject slots, Keyamo dismisses protest
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has rejected the 30 job slot given to each member of the House for the local government areas within their respective constituencies in the recruitment for the Federal Government’s Public Works Scheme.
This is just as the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said it was not their right to get the job slots, but a privilege.
The Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement on Tuesday described the allotment of 30 out of the 1,000 slots per local government areas to each member of the House as “grossly unfair and unacceptable by Nigerians and the lawmakers who are the true representatives of the people.”
The statement was titled, ‘774, 000 Jobs: Reps Minority Caucus Rejects 30 Slots for Members.’
The Nation had reported that political office holders had been allocated 15 per cent of the slots in the programme designed to employ 1,000 artisans from each of the 774 local government areas of the country. The scheme had been allocated N52bn in the 2020 budget.
The beneficiaries are to work for three months, between October and December, with each of them earning N20,000 monthly.
The Chairman of the Extended Special Public Work Selection Committee in Rivers State, Dr Innocent Barikor, was quoted to have said, “The directive given to us is that every state governor has 40 slots of the job in each LGA; serving senators have 30 each; members of House of Representative have 25 slots; a minister has 30 slots in every LGA in his state of origin.”
The minority caucus of the House, however, demanded transparency and a review of the criteria used for the allotment. The lawmakers alleged that the formula used is in favour of “certain interests in the ruling All Progressives Congress at the detriment and disadvantage of majority of other Nigerians.”
Elumelu insisted that “the 30-person allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas, cannot by any criteria, said to be a true representation of the people they are mandated to represent.”
Elumelu stressed that the 774,000 jobs were meant for the people and that the people looked up to the lawmakers as major channels for social-economic empowerment.
He said consequently, nomination of 30 persons out of the 1,000 in an LGA was inadequate.
The Minority Leader said, “All Nigerians living in our constituencies are our constituents, irrespective of political leanings. We have a responsibility to protect their interests at all times. As such lawmakers ought to have been carried along on the allotment.
The caucus urged the President, Major General Muhamamdu Buhari (retd.), to “immediately order a review of the implementation process to ensure that the targeted citizens benefited from the program as intended.”
‘Job slots to lawmakers is a privilege’
Reacting to Elumelu, Keyamo said, “If they (lawmakers) read the mood of the nation, Nigerians correctly, they didn’t want these slots to be allocated to anybody, but what we try to do was to ensure that, since they have constituents just like the Christian Association of Nigeria, the National Union of Road Transport Workers, just like the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and the civil society, we also believe that they are Nigerians too, so it was just a privilege to nominate certain persons from their constituencies, it was not a right at all.
“So, at the end of the day, it is still from among their constituents they would still pick the beneficiaries from; they won’t go to Cameroon to pick them. Whether they accepted the slots or not is irrelevant because we are still going to pick 1,000 persons from each local government,” Keyamo stated.