The wrangling over the 774,000 public works jobs initiated by the Federal Government might have been resolved with slots allocated to lawmakers.
By Sanni Onogu, Frank Ikpefan, Victor Oluwasegun, Tony Akowe, Abuja; Kolade Adeyemi, Jos; Nwanosike Onu, Awka; Mike Odiegwu, Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt; Chris Oji, Enugu; Augustine Okezie, Katsina; Chris Njoku, Owerri; Elo Edremoda, Warri; AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna; Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki and Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
Besides Senators and House of Representatives members, governors and ministers will also make nominations.
The process of recruitment which the National Assembly tried to halt, after a clash between Minister of State Labour and Employment and the joint committee of the National Assembly on Labour and Employment, is going on in all the states.
Political office holders have been allocated 15 per cent of the slots in the programme designed to employ 1,000 artisan youths from each of the 774 local government councils in the country.
Beneficiaries are to work for three months between October and December. Each will earn N20,000 monthly, doing public works as may be determined.
N52 billion has been approved for the project in the 2020 budget.
Giving a breakdown of the slots sharing, the Chairman of the Extended Special Public Work Selection Committee in Rivers State, Dr. Innocent Barikor, told The Nation reporter at the weekend that: “The programme has a guideline.
“The directive given to us is that every state governor has 40 slots of the job in each LGA; serving Senators have 30 each, members of House of Representative have 25 slots; a minister has 30 slots in every LGA in his state of origin, so I have nothing to do about it.”
The committee chairman added: “This job is for those that do not know about ICT. They are jobs for bricklayers, market women, hairdressers, among others.”
Kaduna State Chairman of the Selection Committee, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, said: “Thirteen per cent of the total number allocated to Kaduna is being shared among the elected and appointed political office holders from the state, while the eighty-seven per cent will be given to the people through a random selection committee.”
Fifty slots were allocated to the member representing Gwer East and Gwer West Constituency of Benue State in the House of Representatives.
NDE State Coordinator, Musa Sadauki, who is also the selection committee Secretary, wrote: “We are pleased to formally notify you that the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo has approved the allotment to you of the 25 slots in each of the two LGAs in your Federal Constituency…”
Plateau State selection committee said it will soon roll out the recruitment modalities.
State coordinator, Rufus Bature, said the committee has held several meetings, and that application forms may be distributed as from next week.
Enugu State Chairman of the Committee, Chief Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu, said the recruitment was running smoothly.
Keyamo who confirmed the slot reservations, said: “Yes, the figures are true. Fifteen per cent has been reserved for political officeholders. They also have constituents they represent.
“The slots for Senators and House of Representatives members are for the local governments within the constituents/catchment areas that they represent, not the whole state.
“It is a very, very small number if you consider that the slots are not up to 150 out of 1,000 per local government. So, you still have 850 per local government. You still have a large number reserved for Nigerians.”
The Katsina State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) protested the quota allotted to the association by the committee.
The chairman, Reverend Nelson Onyekachukwu, said: “Asking CAN to contribute only 20 people from each of the 34 local government areas in the state is grossly unfair to the association.”
The implementation committee chairman, Alhaji Musa Magaji, said the recruitment would be done equitably irrespective of religious or political affiliation, adding that CAN is just one of the groups to be accommodated.
The Anambra State’s Selection Committee head, Sir Uzoma Igbonwa, said the project would soon take off.
He said the traditional rulers sub-committee was yet to be inaugurated, but that those of market women, road workers, youths, CAN and Muslim group have all been inaugurated.
Lawmakers in Imo State have allegedly hijacked the forms for some local government areas.
An artisan, Elder Jacob Uwaleke from Owerri West Local Government Area, said: “We were told that lawmakers collected the forms on behalf of their constituencies but honestly I am yet to see it.”
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the exercise open.
“There is no mystery about it. It is being done transparently,” he said.
Selection Committee Chairman, Okenze Obinna, said the form was available at NDE office.
“We have given the forms to all elected officials. The problem is that people think that the 27,000 slots to the LGA are inexhaustible, but I have not got any heartbreaking complaint.”
The 20-man selection committee inaugurated in Delta State has begun the recruitment process.
Chairman of the committee, Prof Kelly Ejemudo, said: “We already have slots allotted to political officeholders. Then we have interest groups.
“Our committee did not adopt the hard copy or electronic mode because some scammers may hijack it.
“Apart from the state committee, we have local government coordinators. We also have ward supervisors.”
Our correspondent learnt that 30 slots were allotted to each of the traditional in the eight councils of Delta Central.
For Delta South, 20 slots were reportedly allotted to the Olu of Warri.
Ijaw monarchs under the senatorial district reportedly got 10 slots per six local government areas, while royal fathers of Isoko ethnic nationality received 30 slots for the two Isoko North and South council areas each.
Traditional rulers in Delta North senatorial district were reportedly allotted 40 slots each.
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) got 10 each across the 25 council areas; market women got 250 slots, 10 for each council area; youth organisations reportedly got 20 slots for each of the council areas, bringing their total to 500.
The state chapters of CAN and the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs were reportedly given “500 job slots each, 20 per LGA”.
The committee chairman in Oyo State, Mr Ope Salami, said they were yet to receive any mobilisation fund from the Federal Government for logistics.
He said the committee would announce when prospective applicants can approach their council areas to obtain the application forms.
In Ebonyi, the committee said it will conclude work on the list of those to be recruited by end of the month.
Its Chairman, Edward Nkwegu, said 13,000 persons are to be recruited from the 13 council areas.
The Senate insisted that the Directorate of Employment (NDE) should handle the recruitment.
Chairman Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Godiya Akwashiki (Nasarawa North), said the Senate’s position remains unchanged.
He said: “Before we went on break, we had a resolution. We did not say they should suspend the programme.
“Strictly, the law says that the NDE should implement the programme, that is, planning and execution, while the Minister’s role is that of supervision as far as the law is concerned.
“This was the position of both chambers of the National Assembly.”
On whether the NDE is implementing the resolution, he said: “I don’t know but that is the position of the Act establishing the NDE. That is the position of the law.”
“We are watching. We believe it is still in the preliminary stages, so there is no cause for alarm. It is too early for now because all of us are on break. So I will advise you to wait.”
House of Representatives spokesman, Benjamin Kalu, added: “It’s their job to recruit. That the Executive is doing the job does not mean the National Assembly is not having an input into the programme.
“The National Assembly will have input because there must be a way to accommodate the people we represent.”
Barikor said members of the committee would not allow any political party to hijack the scheme.
According to him, the committee was in talks with the Rivers State government following its decision to pull out of the scheme.
He said: “I believe that some level of misinformation is responsible for what had happened.”