JUST IN: Senate Reveals Date To Decide On 774,000 Jobs

The Senate will take an official position on the decision by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), to flout its decision on the recruitment of 774,000 federal workers.

The Minority Leader of the Upper Chamber, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, stated this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH.

He said the senators were expecting the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to brief them on the outcome of Thursday’s meeting of the presiding officers of the National Assembly with the President, Muhammadu Buhari , on the issue.

He said, “The Senate will take an official position on the issue next Tuesday after listening to the outcome of the meeting between the presiding officers and the President over the matter.

“We asked our presiding officers to meet with President Buhari on the issue and we have not had plenary since they returned. The Senate President will brief us on Tuesday at plenary and we will make a decision on it.”

The federal parliament had suspended the Public Works Programme penultimate week following a disagreement between its Committee on Labour and Keyamo.

The lawmakers accused Keyamo of hijacking the recruitment exercise from the National Directorate of Employment, which got N52bn approval to carry out the programme.

But Keyamo told journalists on Tuesday that Buhari had asked him to proceed with the recruitment process notwithstanding the position of the National Assembly on the issue.

The development forced the Senate to hold an emergency closed-door session on Wednesday and mandated presiding officers of both chambers of the nation’s parliament to immediately meet with Buhari on the proposed recruitment of 774,000 federal workers.

Attempts to speak with the Senate’s spokesperson on the issue on Friday were futile as he did not answer calls to his mobile phone or reply to a text message sent to him.

Also, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, refused to respond to Saturday PUNCH’s enquiry on Friday.

“I am holding a meeting now. I cannot speak on the question you are asking me,” he said.

A senator from the North-West geopolitical zone, who spoke with our correspondent on conditions of anonymity on Friday, however, expressed fears that the National Assembly had lost out in the power play to the Ministry of Labour.

“I am afraid the matter has died a natural death after the meeting between the presiding officers and the President. We seem to have lost out in the power play to the Ministry of Labour.

“The only thing is that we will summon the management of the National Directorate of Employment soon to find out what is happening because we appropriated the funds for the programme to them,” he said.


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