Festus Keyamo, minister of state, labour and employment, says some politicians are trying to blackmail him over the recruitment into the special public works programme.
In April 6, Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, announced that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the engagement of 774,000 Nigerians for the programme implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
In May, Keyamo said up to 10 percent slots of the beneficiaries of the programme in each state would be allotted to political office holders “like our distinguished senators, honourable members, ministers and governors”.
But speaking on Monday in Abuja at the inauguration of the state selection committee, Keyamo said he will not give in to pressure from politicians who want to “hijack” the programme scheduled to begin in October, 2020.
“There have been attempts at blackmailing me in this particular programme too to make us also yield to political leaders and we have said no, not while I am here,” the minister said.
“I have a pedigree. I have a background. I know where I am coming from. Before I came into public office, I have a pedigree and what I stand for.
“Except Mr. President, who appointed me stops me, and who gave me the opportunity and rare privilege to drive this programme, except he stops me, no other political leader or person can stop me. I am answerable only to Mr President.
“Before coming here today, there has been an attempt by certain political leaders to say I must come and see them behind the scene first to determine who gets what and how, and I said no. I am ready at any time for a public debate on this with them.
“I think the chairmen can stand on their own; don’t go and hold meetings in the house of politicians to select; hold your meetings in NDE offices. Don’t go and meet in any government house to hold any meeting, don’t go to any politicians’ house to do selections.”
The beneficiaries will be paid N20,000 monthly for the three-month duration of the programme.