The minority caucus in the House of Representatives has rejected the 30 job slots allotted to each member of the House for their respective local government areas within their constituencies out of the 774,000 Special Public Works (SPW) programme of the federal government.
The caucus also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order a review of the implementation process to ensure that the targeted citizens benefit from the programme as intended.
The federal government had unveiled the SPW to engage 1,000 unemployed and unskilled workers from each of the 774 local government areas. The initiative is billed to begin on October 1, and about N52 billion was earmarked for the programme in the 2020 budget. Each beneficiary will be paid N20, 000 monthly to carry out public works.
The minister of state for labour and employment, Festus Keyamo, who directly supervises the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) had been at loggerheads with members of the National Assembly over the implementation of the recruitment process.
Sequel to the disagreements, a Joint Committee on Labour, Productivity and Employment of the National Assembly announced the suspension of the programme and directed the director-general of NDE, Dr Nasir Mohammed Ladan, to take control and bring to the parliament how he intends to execute the programme.
But Keyamo declared that political office holders had been allocated 15 per cent of the 774, 00 (116,100) slots in the programme.
Also, chairman of the selection committee of the extended Special Public Works programme in Bauchi, Sanusi Aliyu Kunde, disclosed that the committees in each had been directed to reserve 40 slots for state governors in each local government of the state, 30 for each senator in the local governments within their districts and 40 for a principal officer of the Senate, also within the local governments in their districts.
For members of the House of Representatives, the committee was directed to reserve 25 slots from the local government areas within their constituencies and 30 slots for principal officers of the House within their constituencies, while ministers should be allotted 30 slots from all the local government areas in the state.
But the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement yesterday, described the 30 slots offer out of the 1000 slots per local government, as grossly unfair and unacceptable by the lawmakers.
The caucus, however, demanded for more transparency and a review of the criteria being used for the allotment, which is alleged to favour certain interests in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the detriment and disadvantage of majority of other Nigerians.
The minority leader insisted that, “the 30 persons allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas, cannot by any criteria, said to be a true representation of the people they are mandated to represent.”
According to him, the 774,000 jobs are meant for the people and that the people look up to the lawmakers as major channels through which they are reached for social and economic empowerment, a situation, which makes the 30 people, out of 1000 per local government, grossly inadequate.
“The 30 person allotment per local government for lawmakers is grossly unfair, inadequate and unacceptable to Nigerians. As the representatives of the people, we are closer to them and they directly interact with us, irrespective of religion, class and political affiliations.
“All Nigerians living in our constituencies are our constituents, irrespective of political leanings. We have a responsibility to protect their interests at all times. As such lawmakers ought to have been carried along on the allotment.
“Moreover, the questions are, what criteria are being used in the job allotments? Given the 30 persons out of 1000 per local government area allotted to federal lawmakers, what happens to the remaining 970? What answers do we give Nigerians? How do we ensure that the program benefits Nigerians and not enmeshed in allegations of sharp practices as witnessed in the COVID-19 palliative distribution?