The minister of state for labour, Festus Keyamo, has said members of the National Assembly lack the constitutional powers to give directives to the Executive arm of government.
The minister was referring to what he felt were attempt by the lawmakers to give him, a representative of the president, directives on how to implement the federal government’s plan to recruit 774,000 Nigerians.
Keyamo released a statement on Tuesday shortly after appearing before a joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on labour, where he engaged in a heated exchange with the lawmakers.
The minister was subsequently asked to leave after objecting to a request to move into a closed session.
In his statement, Keyamo said, “They suggested that they ought to have an input on how the programme should be implemented. In other words, they sought to control the programme as to who gets what, where and how.
“However, I insisted that I could not surrender the programme to their control since their powers under the constitution does not extend to that. They insisted on a closed door session.”
The minister added, “After I left, I understand that the Joint Committees purportedly suspended the work of the Selection Committees nationwide until they decide how the programme should be run and who should be in those Committees. My opinion is that it is tantamount to challenging the powers of Mr. President.
“I regret to say that their powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution is only limited to investigations, but NOT TO GIVE ANY DIRECTIVE TO THE EXECUTIVE.”
He said a committee or committees of both houses did not even have powers to pass binding resolutions.
“They can only make recommendations to Plenary. In this case, even plenary cannot give directives to the Executive.
“All my life, I have fought for good governance and constitutional democracy. I will not come into government and be intimidated to abandon those principles. I will rather leave this assignment, if Mr. President so directs than compromise the jobs meant for ordinary Nigerians who have no Godfathers or who are not affiliated to any political party,” Keyamo stated.
Challenging the suspension of the selection committee by the lawmakers, Keyamo said, “I therefore, respectfully further direct all the Committees set up nationwide made up of CAN, NSCIA, NURTW, Market Women, CSOS, Youth Organisations, respected traditional rulers, etc to proceed with their work unhindered. Only Mr. President can stop their work.”