From Fred Itua, Abuja
FEDERAL lawmakers were, yesterday, involved rowdy session following disagreements with the Minister of State, Labour and productivity, Festus Keyamo, over the ongoing Special Public Works Programme (SPWP) involving the recruitment of 774,000 persons across the 774 local government areas.
The National Assembly joint committee on Labour and Productivity had invited Keyamo to provide explanation on the modalities for the recruitment exercise of 774,000 unskilled workers by the Federal Government for Special Public Works project.
The atmosphere in room 231 venue of the committee meeting suddenly became charged following disagree ment on whether or not the meeting should be behind closed doors as suggested by the committee.
Trouble started when Keyamo insisted that the session be made open with journalists in attendance. Lawmakers had claimed that the members of the state selection committee for the SPWP were appointed in a lopsided manner.
They accused Keyamo of having abused due process in the appointment of additional 12 members after eight had been duly appointed.
The minister, who was already poised to respond to the allegations, became enraged when chairman of the Committee, Godiya Akwashiki, suddenly declared that the meeting should continue behind closed doors.
Keyamo rejected the call insisting that he had the right to respond to the allegations in the open.
The lawmakers took the minister’s insistence on open session as an embarrassment pointing out that they had the right to dictate the proceedings of the meeting.
They asked Keyamo to immediately apologise for rejecting the closed door meeting, an order the minister equally rejected.
Matters came to a climax when the minister threatened to walk out should the lawmakers insist on closed door. The meeting came to an abrupt end as Keyamo walked out.
But answering questions from journalists outside the meeting hall, Keyamo accused lawmakers of attempting to hijack and control the recruitment programme.