Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has said that he is facing blackmail and pressure from some politicians to enable them to determine those to be allotted the 774,000 jobs recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Targeted at creating jobs for unskilled persons in rural areas, the programme is expected to last three months (October to December) and the jobs are within a special public works programme (SPWP) targeted at recruiting 1,000 persons in each of the 774 local government areas to be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
Also, the workers are expected to clear and protect public infrastructure in rural areas while they earn N20,000 each within the three months.
Speaking during the inauguration of the states’ selection committee of the project, Keyamo stressed that majority of the jobs must be allotted to ordinary Nigerians who need them, saying that he would not sacrifice his reputation for the desires of the politicians.
In the past, it used to be that certain people entrusted with this kind of programmes handed them over entirely to political leaders.
There has been an attempt at blackmailing in this particular programme too to make us also yield to political leaders. But we have said no, not while I am here.
Except Mr President, who appointed and gave me the opportunity and rare privilege to drive this programme stops me, no other political leader or person can stop me. I am answerable only to Mr President. This programme is for all Nigerians.
Before coming here today, there has been an attempt by certain political leaders to say I must come and see them behind the scenes first to determine who gets what and how. I said no, I will not do that. I am ready at any time for a public debate on this with them.
He, however, warned the committee chairmen that anyone discovered doing politicians’ biddings would be relieved of the position and replaced immediately.