OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the leadership of the House has commenced moves to ensure that the embarrassing row which occurred on Tuesday between a joint committee of the National Assembly and the Minister for State of Labour and Productivity and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo is resolved within 24 hours.
The Speaker made the commitment today when he showed up at the Public Accounts Committee public hearing in National Assembly complex.
The Committee on Public Account which is chaired by Mr Wole Oke (PDP, Osun) is currently investigating the National School Feeding Program of the federal government as it invited the Statistician-General of the federation to shed light on the data used in ascertaining the beneficiaries of the programme.
In his opening remarks, the Speaker urged the Committee to carry on without minding his presence that he only stopped by to observe proceedings and also to “make sure that what happened yesterday in the Senate does not repeat here.”
The Speaker condemned what happened at the Senate between Mr. Keyamo and the joint committee. Recall that both parties had engaged in a shouting match before the minister was eventually walked out of a hearing called to interact on the 774,000 jobs scheme being implemented by the ministry under Mr. Keyamo.
He said: “I’m only here to observe proceedings and nothing more so just carry on and forget about my presence. As you well know, the Committee on Public Accounts is the only committee recognized in the constitution. But again, we have to make sure that what happened yesterday in the Senate does not repeat here. It is unfortunate that the National Assembly is not allowed to operate as it should. However, I want to assure you that the matter would be resolved within 24”.
Recall that members of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Labour had invited Keyamo to give details of the Special Public Works Programme where 774,000 people would be recruited by the Federal Government under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
During the hearing, the Committee sought to find out the method of selection of a 20-man committee from each state for the programme. However, a heated argument erupted between committee members and Keyamo over the constitution of a committee to implement the programme which was to be domiciled under the NDE.
In the process the meeting became rowdy and Committee decided to go into a closed-door session to discuss the matter, but the minister refused, insisting that further discussions be held in the presence of journalists. This enraged the lawmakers who told Keyamo to apologise to the committee, but he ignored them.
Thereafter, the minister was asked to leave the meeting since he refused to apologise to members of the Committee.