The minority caucus of the house of representatives says 30 slots allocated to its members out of the 1,000 jobs for each local government area in the country is inadequate.
The federal government had kicked off the special public works programme for the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians as part of fiscal stimulus measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme, which is coordinated by the ministry of labour and employment, was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A total of 1,000 Nigerians from each of the 774 local government areas will be engaged in the programme supervised by constituted state committees.
The beneficiaries will earn N20,000 monthly, and N52 billion has been voted for the programme in the 2020 budget.
A number of slots have been given to governors, senators and members of the house of representatives.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the house of representatives, said 30 slots have been offered to members of the minority caucus — an allocation he described as inadequate.
Elumelu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Aniocha North/Aniocha South and Oshimili North and South federal constituency of Delta state, alleged that the lawmakers were not involved in the process.
He said the allocation is not a true representation of the people in their various constituencies, and that Buhari needs to review the recruitment process.
“The 30 persons allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas cannot, by any criteria, be said to be a true representation of the people they are mandated to represent,” he said.
“It is grossly unfair, inadequate and unacceptable to Nigerians. As the representatives of the people, we are closer to them and they directly interact with us, irrespective of religion, class and political affiliations.
“All Nigerians living in our constituencies are our constituents, irrespective of political leaning. We have a responsibility to protect their interests at all times. As such, lawmakers ought to have been carried along on the allotment.
“Moreover, the questions are: what criteria is being used in the job allotments, given the 30 persons out of the 1000 per local government area allotted to federal lawmakers, what happens to the remaining 970, what answers do we give Nigerians, how do we ensure that the programme benefit Nigerians and not enmeshed in allegations of sharp practices as witnessed in the COVID-19 palliative distribution?”
In reaction to Elumelu’s remarks, Yekini Nabena, deputy spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the slots were well distributed.
He said PDP members are making unnecessary accusations and that the federal government has the exercise under control.
“Traditional rulers, religious leaders and local government chairmen across the country got the job slots. Is Elumelu saying they are all APC card carrying members?” he said.
“I will give you a personal example: my local government chairman in Sagbama council of Bayelsa state is a PDP member. The problem with these PDP members is that they have all been infected with the PDP virus. They should stop crying wolf where there is none. The truth is that we got it right on this particular exercise supervised by Keyamo.”