Senate sits over 774,000 jobs

The Senate on Tuesday entered an emergency closed session to discuss the outcome of the meeting between the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the presiding officers of the National Assembly last Thursday.

The closed session started immediately the red chamber resumed plenary on Tuesday.

The Minority Leader of the Upper Chamber, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, had told our correspondent on Friday that the Senate would take an official position on the decision by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, to flout its decision on the recruitment of 774, 000 federal workers.

He said the senators were expecting the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to brief them on the outcome of Thursday’s meeting between the presiding officers of the National Assembly and the President on the issue.

He had said, “The Senate will take an official position on the issue next Tuesday after listening to the outcome of the meeting between the presiding officers and the President over the matter.

“We asked our presiding officers to meet with President Buhari over the issue and we have not had plenary since they returned. The Senate President will brief us on Tuesday at plenary and we will take a decision on it.”

The federal parliament had suspended the Public Works Programme penultimate week following a disagreement between its committee on Labour and Kayamo.

The lawmakers accused Keyamo of hijacking the recruitment exercise from the National Directorate of Employment, which got N52bn approval to carry out the programme.

Instead of respecting the verdict of the legislators, Keyamo told journalists on Tuesday that Buhari had asked him to proceed with the recruitment process notwithstanding the position of the National Assembly on the issue.

The development forced the Senate to hold an emergency closed-door session on Wednesday and mandated presiding officers of both chambers of the nation’s parliament to immediately meet with Buhari on the proposed recruitment of 774, 000 federal workers.

The development forced the President of the Senate, and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, secured an appointment for a meeting with Buhari on Thursday where the issue was discussed.

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