Say Parliament with powers of appropriation should not be ignored
By Levinus Nwabughiogu – Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives have said that the recruitment of 774,000 special workers by the Federal Government remained suspended until the National Assembly says otherwise.
It will be recalled that both chambers of the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives had after a brawl at a Senate committee hearing on the exercise with the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Kayemo penultimate week put the programme on hold until the federal government explained all grey areas and the modalities for the recruitment.
But the Minister on Tuesday got the nod of President Muhammadu Buhari to proceed with the exercise against the position of the National assembly which appropriates funds.
Reacting to the development, some lawmakers from the House who exclusively spoke to Vanguard in Abuja on Wednesday said that the exercise remained suspended as announced by the parliament until it lifts the ban on recruitment.
Speaking on the matter, Hon. Ben Igbakpa representing Ethiope Federal Constituency, Delta State said that his position is that of the Parliament.
He said: “The truth is that so long the national assembly is the one appropriating for that project, I think it is very wrong to consider ignoring them because there are other measures the House can take to push their position. Until the modalities are sorted out, the programme remains suspended. I think that is the position of the National assembly.”
Similarly, Hon. Solomon Marem representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State said that the House has not lifted the suspension.
“For now, they can go ahead if they want to but we will see how it will go because it is within our responsibility of carrying out oversight functions; it is through that that we are supposed to expose corruption, inefficiency, and waste in the system. And we are trying to see the viability of that programme vis-a-vis the insinuations that are being made. Two: the modalities of recruitment are very important.
“We are the representatives of the Nigerian people not just members of the national assembly whether in the Senate or House of Representatives. None of us is going to take that position. So, whatever we are fighting, we are fighting for the people because we are also aware that the chief executive of the NDE where the programme is domiciled, who is supposed to implement that programme and the ministry supervises, is also claiming that he is not aware of the procedures that are being carried out.
“And you know that NDE has a database of unemployed youths across the country and if you sideline them, how are you going to get the data? How are we going to get to the truly unemployed? These are the things we are raising. But you know, if the President feels otherwise about the matter, well, we will also explore our responsibility as members of Parliament on the best way we can intervene in the programme.
“But our position as a Parliament stands: that that programme should be suspended until all the issues that are before us are cleared and Nigerians were taken into consideration and they benefit from the programme”, he said.
For Hon. Ben Kalu who represents Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State and doubles as the Spokesman of the House, is no comment for now.
“No comment until we have official details on it from a credible source”, he said simply.
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