Reps avoid comment on NDE DG replacement

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Just like the Senate, the House of Representatives on Tuesday declined comments on the decision by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to ignore the resolutions of the National Assembly seeking a reversal of the sacking of Dr Nasiru Argungu, as the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment.

The Presidency had on Monday announced that Buhari had approved the appointment of Abubakar Fikpo as the acting Director-General of the NDE pending the appointment of a substantive DG.

The Senate had on December 10, 2020; and the House on December 15, 2020, urged Buhari to rescind the presidential directive sacking the former NDE DG. Buhari had, instead, directed Keyamo, who supervises the NDE, to nominate an acting DG for the agency.

Keyamo started the programme on January 5, 2021, against an earlier resolution by the National Assembly.

When contacted by our correspondent on Monday to react to Argungu’s replacement, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, said, “No comment, we are still on recess. Wait till we resume and access more details.”

The spokesperson for the Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru, had earlier on Monday declined comments on the matter.

Basiru, while responding to our correspondent’s enquiry had simply said, “The Senate is not in session.”

Asked whether the issue would be discussed at plenary on resumption next week, Basiru simply said, “I don’t know.”

 Argungu was sacked at the peak of the crisis between the National Assembly and the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Festus Keyamo (SAN), over the implementation of the Federal Government’s Special Public Works Programme.

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The scheme, for which N52bn was allocated in the 2020 Appropriation Act, is to employ 1000 Nigerians from each of the 744 local government areas, each of whom will be paid a N20,00o monthly stipend for three months.

In another development, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the lawmakers, under his leadership, will do their best for Nigeria, so that posterity will vindicate them.

Gbajabiamila, in a cryptic message in a post on his social media accounts on Monday, said, “We will talk, we will engage, we will change laws, and we will amend the Constitution subject to the consensus of the Nigerian people. We will do everything that we have the power to do so that when the account of this moment is given, we will be counted for making the right choices and doing justice by our people.”

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