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Ngige Apologises To NASS Over Altercation On 774,000 Jobs

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The Minister of Labour, Productivity and Employment, Senator Chris
Ngige has apologised to the leadership of the National Assembly over
last week’s face-off between the Minister of State for Labour, Festus
Keyamo and the joint Senate and House Committees on Labour,
Productivity and Employment.

Ngige tendered the apology when he led a delegation from the Ministry
to a meeting with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan at the
National Assembly, on Tuesday.

He appealed to the National Assembly for forgiveness on behalf of
Keyamo and urged them to put his mistake aside and work for the
success of the national assignment placed on their shoulders.

The Minister was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the
spokesman to the Senate President, Ezrel Tabiowo, “We deeply regret
the incident that happened, the altercation that followed it, between
my Minister of State and members of the Joint Committee.”

Ngige explained that his visit was to give the lawmakers the necessary
information needed to fast-track the Special Public Works Programme of
the federal government.

He also called for a good working relationship between the legislative
and executive arms of government on the programme which he said was
designed from the office of the President before the COVID-19.

Recall that the faceoff between Kayamo and the federal lawmakers last
week forced the nation’s parliament to suspend the recruitment of 774,
000 Nigerians in the  Special Public Works Programme 2020 being
undertaken by the Ministry

The Minister said, “having visited your domain to the Joint Committee
on Labour, Productivity and Employment over some issues of the Special
Public Works Programme of the federal government, a programme that was
designed by the Executive with the legislature, if the Executive makes
a proposal and it is not funded, then that proposal will be dead on
the table.

He said, “Therefore, we decided that as a team, we would come with
full force and give the necessary information that we need so that we
can fast track this programme which was designed from the office of
the President before the COVID-19.

Ngige emphasised that, “We must work together without acrimony or even
drawing a very rigid line of who has this power and who doesn’t. That
is the only way the programmes of government can be made sustainable
and executed for the benefit of our people.

“In the Seventh Senate, the National Assembly didn’t have a rancorous
relationship with the Executive of Ebele Jonathan, even though some of
us were in the opposition parties,” he said.

He said, “We came to the 8th National Assembly, we had a very terrible
experience for the legislature and executive, because when you go into
such wars, wars are fought with bullets and you do not know who these
bullets will touch.

“Many people became casualties to the extent that even the head of the
legislature at the time had to be taken to the Code of Conduct for
criminal charges and trial.

“Today, in the 9th Senate, we are enjoying a robust relationship
with the legislature. Some of us who have passed through this
institution, will do everything possible to maintain that
relationship.

“Therefore, Mr. President, I apologise on behalf of my Ministry for
what took place the last time, and I hope this apology will be taken
by members of the Committee and the entire National Assembly, because
I’m aware and I know that a Committee is a representative of the
whole. The committee room is an extension of our hallowed chambers.

“I, therefore, request that we forgive and forget. Let us turn a new
page and start off on this Programme which the National Assembly has
indicated that they’ve suspended. We can’t suspend forever programmes
that affect our people.

The Senate President in his response explained that the decision by
the National Assembly to approve the sum of N52 billion as requested
by the Executive for the Special Public Works Programme was mainly out
of confidence in the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to
implement accordingly.

He stated that the Ministry of Labour, Productivity and Employment
only has a supervisory role to play in the implementation of the
Programme designed to recruit 774,000 Nigerians.

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