Following the altercation between the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo and the Joint Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity, on the Federal Government’s Special Works programme, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige has apologised.
The Senior Minister, who appeared before the joint Committee with his junior Minister, Festus Keyamo, after tendering the apology, promised to work harmoniously with lawmakers to ensure the success of the programme.
Ngige, who was in the 7th Senate acknowledged the role of lawmakers in appropriating funds for programmes, adding that the law establishing the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) would be strictly observed.
He said: “I have taken interest of being here and in the spirit of fair hearing, I intend to say something and am happy you oblige because if you sentence me to come on Monday and you didn’t hear me without knowing if Monday will be okay for me, I don’t think, it would have been fair enough.
“I want to say what I said up there before the Senate President spoke to us, that I will champion this cause as a Ministry with a truck load of apologies of what transpired here last time.
“It may be due to misinformation. You know nations go to war for lack of information.
“Because of that this place is like a war theatre and we must go back to peace table, so I see this meeting today as going back to peace table.
“NDE is our parastatal and it’s not our rival. We supervise them, so we will do this programme. We will follow the law.
“Parliament make the law and we will not break the law made by the Parliament, we have NDE Act and in consonance with you people, we will look at the programme we have.
“This project like I said upstairs is a project designed by Mr. President to touch all the 774 Local Governments in Nigeria and like I said earlier too, that if we designed a policy and is not funded, its dead on the table.
“So, I want to thank the parliament for having appropriated it and I want to assure you that we will do our best to work harmoniously with parliament on this project which is supposed to lift our youths, men and women, adult and others out of poverty.
“How I wish you appropriate more. We will come to you to appropriate more, because the N52 billion is for three months. And for three months, are we going to just pay them and allow them to go?
“We are going to roll out ancillary programmes so that we can actually reach out to our teeming population that we have.