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Minister, NASS Fight Dirty over Job Recruitment into special public works

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Minister, NASS Fight Dirty over Job Recruitment into special public works

The minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo and the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Labour, Tuesday engaged in a shouting match over modalities for recruitment of the 774, 000 Nigerians into the Special Public Works in the Rural Areas .

The war of words lasted for about 30 minutes as tempers flared on both sides.

The committee later matching order for the Minister leave the interactive session over his refusal to tender apology as demanded.

The Minister accused the lawmakers after storming out of the session, of wanting to hijack the program.

Trouble started between members of the joint committee led by Senator Godiya Akwashiki ( APC Nasarawa North) and the Minister, when after making presentations on modalities for recruitments in to the program did not capture the interests of the federal lawmakers

The Minister had in his submissions  before the committee on modalities for recruitment of 1,000 youths per each of the 744 local government councils in Nigeria, listed  Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN), Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs ( SCIA), National Union of Road Transport Workers ( NURTW) and Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU).
Others are Market women Association , Traditional Rulers, Youth organisations and civil society organisations who were considered as pressure groups to be used as channels of recruitment at the grassroots.
The exclusion of the lawmakers did not go down well with with them.

Hence one of the lawmakers, Senator Betty Apiafi ( PDP Rivers South), pointedly, asked the Minister to explain to the committee how performance indicators would be determined since they as representatives of the people are excluded from the recruitment process.
The Minister in his response said since the program will take off in October this year, all the channels of recruitments to be decided upon by 20-man committee per each state, would serve as mechanism for the performance indicators .

Angered by the response, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Godiya Akwashiki picked holes in the submission of the  Minister and that of Director General of National Directorate of Employment ( NDE) Nasir Ladan Argungun .

According to him, while the Minister mentioned 20 groups to be used as channels for the recruitment, the NDE  DG, said he was only aware of 8, meaning that the ministry is hijacking the N52billion program from NDE originally saddled with the responsibility, going by Appropriation made in the 2020 budget .
He there after solicited for the session to go into closed door, which was vehemently kicked against by the Minister who said, ” I came here for open session and not closed session”.

When told that he cannot dictate to them on how the session would be carried out, Kayamo banged the table by shouting that he won’t go into any closed door session with anybody and that he can not be accused in the open and be made to make explanations secretly .

Irked by the Minister’s outburs, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe moved a motion that the Minister should apologise for engaging the committee over rule of proceedings .

Oloriegbe’s motion which was adopted by the committee, however worsened the situation when he was asked to tender apology by the committee Chairman, to which he resisted as he felt he had not committed any offence or made any derogatory statement against the lawmakers.

At that point, almost every member of the committee stood up in the shouting match, go ! go! go !, to the Minister if he cannot apologise .
The Committee chairman, Godiya Akwashiki, by way of resolution told the Minister that based on the decision taken by the committee, if he cannot apologise, he should leave.
The minister then stormed out of the session angrily

Speaking to journalists after his unceremonious exit, Keyamo said: What  they did not allow me to say inside? I will say outside. Today’s invitation for me to come here was for an interactive session I came here.

“The inter-ministerial committee recommended 20 man committee and we approved it. Meanwhile they are comfortable with the eight which are clearly stated like Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Jammatu Nasir Islam (JNI) and others.

“The others are youth organisations and we cannot list youth organisations because from state to state there are different youth organisations depending on the peculiarity of the state .

“The background to this was that a couple of days ago. They started mounting pressure on me that I must bring the list of those to select the 1000 persons from all the local government to them for them to direct me as to what to do from state to state.

“The chairman insisted I must come to them privately for them to hand over to me certain instructions as to how this program will be across the country.

“I said no that would be sharing the powers of the President and that I can only be answerable for what I have done by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution.

“They can only investigate the programme , that cannot direct it “.

However, the federal lawmakers refuted the allegation levelled against them by the Minister as explained by Senator Akwashiki in his damage control speech .

He said : “As a national Assembly our main duty is to check the executive arm of government body the appropriation Act that allows for spending federation account has said that this money should be spent by the National Directorate if employment under the ministry.

“After all that has been said we asked him to apologise to the committee because we have the rules of proceeding here and that we are all in agreement that if he does not apologise to us he can excuse himself or we suspend this programme of the Federal government upon which he left .

“We invited the two ministers – the senior minister and the junior minister – the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Labour and Employment to come and brief us – a joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives – on what is happening regarding to the Special Works under NDE.

“Before we started, we asked the Director General NDE and the Minister to brief us on the pilot selected states which is about eight that the President selected because it is because that programme succeeded that gave Mr President interest or attention to say that the entire country – that is 1000 per the 774 Local Governments should be recruited.

“Come back to the N52 billion approved under NDE, we now asked the Minister of State because the senior minister is not here, that he should explain to us how far they have gone because read on the pages of newspapers this morning that a 20-man Selection Committee from each state was inaugurated yesterday and that they have are chairman and vice chairman and that the State Coordinator of the NDE is the Secretary. We only read that on the pages of newspapers this morning.

“We asked him to brief us how he came about that Committee. He now said it was a tripartite Committee set up by Mr President that comprised of eight Ministries but we disagreed with him on that because we are lawmakers and we try to work always within the ambit of the law for the implementation of whatever we have for the Nigerian people.

We said that this money (N52billion) has been approved under NDE. It is even in the budget. So for him to say it is eight ministries that are involved in this we disagreed with him.

“Thank God that the the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health is here. There is another money under COVID-19 intervention that has been channelled to the Ministry for Health.

“So we said that is not the issue. How did he come about 20-man selection Committee? Because if you did not get it right with the selection committee, I want to tell you that this programme is going to be a failure.

“Nobody is requesting for any slot from him and he cannot blackmail us “.

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Appointment

President Buhari reappoints prof Yakubu as INEC boss for another 5 years

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President Buhari reappoints prof Yakubu as INEC boss for another 5 years

President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Prof. Mahmood Yakubu for reappointment as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
His reappointment is, however, subject to senate ratification.
Yakubu was first appointed INEC chairman in November 2015 when he took over from Professor Attahiru Jega.
His first tenure of five years would elapae on November 9.
Yakubu superitended over the 2019 general election and aome off-cycle elections in states.
His nomination for reappointment was contained in a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan by President Buhari.
The letter reads ” In accordance with the provision of Section 154 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I am pleased to present for confirmation by the Senate, the nomination of Professor Mahmood Yakubu for appointment as Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a second and final term”

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FG empowers 2, 800 Zamfara women with Rural Women Grant of N20, 000 each

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FG empowers 2, 800 Zamfara women with Rural Women Grant of N20, 000 each

The Federal government has empowered 2,800 Women in Zamfara with N20,000 each being part of its Grant Project for Rural Women.

The special adviser to the minister Nneka Ikem Anibeze issued the statement on behalf of the minister.

The one-off program was launched on Tuesday in Gusau by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq.
The Minister said that Cash distribution in Gusau was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to sustain the social inclusion agenda of the present administration.

She explained further that the Grant for Rural Women programme was introduced to sustain the social inclusion agenda of the Buhari Administration, with the aim of realizing the national aspiration of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria. A grant of N20,000.00 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The grant is expected to increase access to financial capital required for economic activities. It is our hope that the beneficiaries of this programme will make good use of the opportunity to increase their income, enhance their food security, and generally contribute towards improving their living standard”.

One of the recipients of the N20,000 grant, 80 year- old Malama A’isha expressed delight in the disbursement and thanked President Buhari for remembering the vulnerable at difficult times like this.

200 women from each of the 14 local government councils in Zamfara state will receive a one-off cash grant of N20,000 each.

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Sirika raises hope for an airport in Lokoja as alternative to NAIA

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Sirika raises hope for an airport in Lokoja as alternative to NAIA

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has reiterated the necessity for an airport in Lokoja, Kogi State as alternate to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
He spoke in the same vein with the chairman, senate committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi who had earlier based his call for an airport in Lokoja on its proximity to FCT and its advantage of being a gateway to more than Nine States.
The minister while fielding questions from journalists after he defended the budget of the ministry and its agencies said, “Lokoja is an important northern town. It is a cosmopolitan town, it’s a mini Nigeria and it is extremely very important in growth and development of our country.” 
“We have a lot of agricultural activities around there. There is fishery, there is perishable item production and so on. So citing an airport there is quite apt.
He said for him, it is is something that Government should have done long ago based on its importance.
The minister also announced 10 new airports were being constructed across the country to boost civil aviation as aviation has become a national security asset.
These were coming even as the Senate Committee on Aviation bemoaned the state of dilapidated facilities at Minna airport, Zuru and Ajaokuta airstrips.

Sirika said both the executive arm of government and the National Assembly have done justice to the civil Aviation sector since 2015 when the current administration came on board through the development of a roadmap, which is being implemented.

The Minister added that the Aviation sector was the fastest growing sector of the economy, hence the Federal Government’s decision to build new seven airports in Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Gombe, among other states. 
He also noted that Kebbi, Osubi, Dutse airports have been taken over by the Federal Government while the Gombe State government had also written the federal authorities, asking it to take over the Gombe Airport.

“Consequent upon that roadmap, we have seen aviation grow in 2018 to become the second fastest growing sector of the economy and by 2019, it became the fastest growing sector of the economy and increased its GDP contribution.
“During the tenure of this administration from 2015 till now, we’ve seen a lot of growth in civil aviation, number of airports is increasing. So far, about seven airports have been added to the map, some of them completed, some of them under construction.

“There are airports coming up in Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Lafia, Damaturu, Anambra and so forth. All of these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration. 

“So, we have about 10 new airports coming up, that is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria. So we are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports,” Sirika said.
The Minister also hinted that the much-talked-about national carrier, Nigeria Air, was part of the Aviation sector roadmap, which will be delivered before 2023.
“We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case. It is being reviewed by ICRC. Soon after it finishes, it will go to FEC and it will be approved. We will not leave this government without having it in place,” Sirika said.

On the issues of dilapidated equipment at some airports across the country, Sirika said it is a work in progress as the airports are being attended to one after the other based on priorities.

“We have been improving these airports one airport after another. We don’t have the resources to take them all at once. We are attending to them, we look at an airport and find which is that safety item and which is that item of security that needs attention first before we now turn to other matters. Certainly we are making Ilorin one of the best airports because in the first place it was an alternate for Lagos,” Sirika revealed.

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