The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) has threatened to resign his appointment if the 774,000 jobs approved by President Muhammadu Buhari under the special public works programme of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) for unskilled labour in rural areas is hijacked by politicians.
The pilot scheme programme was to be implemented in five local government areas in eight states, identified as Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina and Kwara.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Extended Special Public Works across the 774 local governments of the Federation in Abuja, Keyamo said the programme was designed to mitigate the effect of unemployment in rural area through short term engagement of 1,000 unemployed persons per local government for a period of three months.
Beneficiaries, he noted, are engaged in drainage digging and clearance, irrigation canals clearance, rural feeder road maintenance and maintenance of the Great Green Wall nurseries, as well as orchards.
He said, “This is not for PDP or APC, who will want a slot from my local government because I am a politician, but I assure you it will not happen.
“I will leave this job if they want to insist that it will happen. Mr President is targeting ordinary Nigerians who are neither PDP or APC or just anything. They just want to get jobs, they just want to feed their family.
“This is not a time for us to empower our followers as politicians. We are going to dig deep, it is one of the recommendations you are going to make, that is why you are here.”
The former activist further explained that the programme which is a dry season transient job project targets the rehabilitation/maintenance of public and social infrastructure with the participants largely drawn from the pool of unskilled rural persons.
“Recommend to us a model to adopt, we will meet Mr President for approval: the various interest groups, traditional rulers, NURTW representative of the people and so on; those who have direct contact with the people at the grassroots.
“Let us make it clear today that, we are not going to bow down to the pressure of any politician to come and hijack this programme. It will be well modelled, well-executed and it will reach ordinary Nigerians,” he said.