774,000 Jobs: Groups Back Keyamo, Warn NASS members

By Oyosongo Udoyo

The Bayelsa State Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (BANGOF) has urged the minister of state for employment, labour and productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), not to allow members of the National Assembly hijack the planned 774, 000 jobs for unskilled citizens under the Special Public Works Programme.

The group said the altercation between Keyamo and the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity over the 774,000 jobs showed the alleged desperation of the federal lawmakers to take control of the recruitment exercise.

BANGOF, which is a coalition of over 40 civil society groups, in a statement on Monday by its executive secretary, Mr Keme Opia, commended the minister for standing up to protect ordinary and hungry citizens of Nigeria.

It argued that some social intervention programmes of the Federal Government had failed because federal legislators schemed their way through and cornered to themselves the opportunities that such programmes provided for hapless Nigerians.

“It is trite fact that a significant number of the so-called lawmakers in the National Assembly are there to represent their stomachs, their godfathers and friends.

“As such they have no iota of empathy for the ordinary citizens suffocating under the burden of bad governance, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic,” the group said.

BANGOF further contended that part of the federal lawmakers’ anger stemmed from the effort made by Keyamo to remind them that the country did not belong to them alone.

According to the group, many National Assembly members were known to have extended their selfish posture to government agencies and parastatals where they denied ordinary Nigerians access to employment because they were not politically connected.

The statement added: “This high level lack of transparency and corruption-prone approach driven by the urge to compensate godfathers, friends and political cronies result in the distortion of the objectives of such government employment and empowerment schemes.

“Limiting opportunities to only those who have political connections and those who pledge political allegiance is unjust, unfair, creates grievances, and have the potential of fueling political violence.

“It is also disheartening that apart from appropriating a huge chunk of national resources as annual budgets for themselves, members of the National Assembly would stop at nothing to grab opportunities meant for ordinary Nigerians.”

BANGOF called on well-meaning Nigerians to support Keyamo to courageously push the programme through without ceding control, stressing that “enough is enough” of the National Assembly members.

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