The Senate is currently in a closed-door session to deliberate on the fate of Festus Keyamo, a ministerial nominee from Delta State.
Mr Keyamo’s nomination has divided the Red Chamber over his past comments and actions while serving as a minister of state for labour and employment under former President Muhammadu Buhari.
His screening got off to a rocky start when Darlington Nwokocha, a Labour Party lawmaker from Abia State, raised a point of order shortly after Mr Keyamo finished his introduction.
Citing Section 88 of the Constitution, the senator said Mr Keyamo violated the Constitution in the past by ignoring summons from the two chambers of the National Assembly during the implementation of the Special Public Works Programme of the federal government.
“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation into – any matter or thing with respect to which it has the power to make laws, and the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for,” the Section reads in part.
Mr Nwokocha moved a motion that Mr Keyamo’s nomination be suspended pending investigation into his conduct.
The motion was seconded by Eyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia).
When the motion was put to vote by the presiding officer, Godswill Akpabio, there was no clear division between those against the motion and those in support.
While Mr Akpabio was hesitating to call the votes, a rowdy session ensued on the floor of the Senate as different camps were shouting “ayes” and “nays”.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, stood up from seat and cited Order 62 of the Senate and asked all the senators to calm down . When the senators were calm, the senate president said a lot of things were considered before nomination of Mr Keyamo.
Consequently, the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, moved a motion that the Senate moved into a closed session. The motion was seconded by the Minority Leader, Simon Mwadkwom.
At exactly 2:00 p.m, the senate president directed that the Senate dissolved into closed-door session and ordered Mr Keyamo to step out of the chamber.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the clash between Mr Keyamo and the lawmakers at a meeting with the joint committee of the National Assembly on employment and labour. The meeting was aimed at discussing the progress of the planned employment of 774,000 Nigerians by the federal government.
The National Assembly had in the 2020 budget appropriated N52 billion for the special public works programme aimed at employing 774,000 citizens, a thousand from each of the 774 local government areas in the country.
Mr Keyamo told journalists the inter-ministerial committee recommended a 20-member committee approved by the ministry.
He also said the lawmakers pressured him to submit the names of those involved in the recruitment process.
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