774,000 jobs: I have Buhari’s approval to go ahead — Keyamo

•Says programme begins nationwide

AGAINST the directive of the National Assembly, Minister of Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on Tuesday, said  President Muhammadu Buhari has given the approval to continue with the implementation of the Federal Government  Special Public Works Programme (SPWP).

The programme is to employ 774,000 itinerant unskilled workers in the first phase of three months to engage in public works. Specifically, Keyamo said President Buhari had resolved to write the National Assembly to stay away from the implementation of the programme, being under the supervision of the executive, which the Ministry of Labour is to exclusively implement through its agency.

An aide to the minister, Davidson Olua, first confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that President Buhari had given 100 per cent backing to the minister to go ahead with the responsibility given him to ensure proper execution and implementation of the SPWP.

The National Assembly had earlier directed that the SPWP should be suspended after an altercation between the minister and the joint committee on the labour of the House of Representatives and the Senate, over what Keyamo described as an attempt to hijack the programme by the legislature and politicians.

In a telephone chat thereafter, Keyamo confirmed that he had secured a fresh instruction from President  Buhari on the issue. He stated that he now has a new instruction from the president to proceed with the recruitment exercise. He said:  “I have fresh instructions to proceed with the programme as directed by him and to continue to supervise the  programme in accordance with the law.”

Before the National Assembly issue came to the fore, Keyamo had declared that he would not be blackmailed into allowing the political class and social elite to hijack the programme. The programme is set to recruit 1,000 people in each local government area who would be engaged by the Federal Government between October and December to carry out public works peculiar to each local government area.



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