Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, yesterday declared that no appointee of the government can create crisis between both the executive and legislative arms of the government.
He also insisted that the suspension of the recruitment of 774,000 personnel for the federal government public works programme remains in force until the modus operandi of the scheme is clearly spelt out by the executive.
Apparently referring to last week faceoff between members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Labour and the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, resulting in the latter being walked out of the interactive session for the modalities for the implementation of the social works scheme, Lawal said President Muhammadu Buhari represents the executive arm of government which the National Assembly is on the same page with on various development-driven national projects.
Lawan, who stated this while responding to a question during an interactive session with journalists, added that the N52 billion appropriated for the project must be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) as contained in the N10.8 trillion revised 2020 budget.
According to him, “Only one person defines the executive arm of government. Any other person aside the vice president is either recruited or appointed to support that one person.
“That one person is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So if somebody, an employee or an appointee, out of several others, does something that does not show harmony, it will be unfair and uncharitable to say that the executive arm of government is not on the same page with us.”
He also explained that the National Assembly approved the N52 billion voted for the public works project bearing in mind that the NDE has the capacity to execute the project.
“Let me tell you also here that the National Assembly consciously and patriotically passed the request of the executive for the N52 billion to undertake the programme on public works across the country, where 1,000 youths particularly will be employed in every local government area-making it 774,000 people to be employed.
“That was the approval made by the National Assembly in the approved budget request of the president. When the National Assembly was to pass the request, it was conscious through scrutiny that NDE will be the agency to implement the programme and we approved that because we know NDE has the capacity to implement the programme.
“So that programme is an NDE programme approved by the National Assembly worth N52billion. Secondly, it is within the purview of our committees to demand an explanation on the process and procedure through which this programme will be implemented. So our joint committee was right. The committee was right to ask the questions.
“We are meant to interrogate the processes through which such programmes will be implemented. Thirdly, we stand by the committee’s resolve that the programme should be suspended until such explanations are provided on how this programme will be implemented
“Our purpose is not just to approve money. We insist that only NDE will implement this programme, and even the NDE led by the Minister of Employment and Productivity will have to come and explain to the National Assembly committees how they will implement the programme,” he stated.
Lawan emphasised that the social programme would remain suspended until the executive arm furnishes the Assembly with required details about the scheme.