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Reps direct NBS to provide head count of pupils benefiting from national food programme

...As Gbajabiamila assures amicable resolutions of legislature/executive face off on 774,000 jobs

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts Wednesday directed the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to provide the head count of pupils and other beneficiaries of the National Food Programme.

The Committee also demanded for a proper pre-qualification of all the food vendors for the school feeding programme in accordance with the Public Procurement Act to safeguard the lives of the pupil’s and other citizens.

Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke who gave the directives when the Statistician-General of the Federation, Yemi Kale appeared before it, also queried the unverifiable data used for the feeding of the pupils since inception.

Oke demanded that the data from the State offices of the NBS for the school feeding programme should be made available to guide the Parliament in the course of the ongoing investigation.

In his response, the Statistician-General, Kale assured the Committee that the Agency would do the requested headcount and get the list of public and private school pupils who benefited from the feeding programme.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed that the leadership of the House has commenced moves to resolve the face off between both the Chambers of the National Assembly and the Minister for State of Labour and Productivity and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerian Youths by the Federal Government.

Gbajabiamila who said this when he made a surprise appearance at the Public Accounts Committee hearing at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja assured that the seeming differences would be amicably resolved.

The Speaker who appeared at the venue of the Public hearing unannounced, urged the Committee to carry on without minding his presence, as he only stopped by to observe proceedings.

“I’m only here to observe proceedings and nothing more so just carry on and forget about my presence. As you all know, the Committee on Public Accounts is the only Committee recognized by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, so you are all welcome. But again, we have to make sure that what happened yesterday (Monday) in the Senate does not repeat here

“It is unfortunate that the National Assembly is not allowed to operate as it should. However, I want to assure you that the matter will be resolved within the next 24 hours”, he said.

Recall that the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Labour had invited Keyamo to give details of the Special Public Works Programme where 774,000 unemployed Youths would be recruited by the Federal Government under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

During the hearing, the Committee sought to find out the method of selection of a 20-man Committee from each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja for the programme.

However, a heated argument ensued between the lawmakers and the Minister over who should lead the programme which was to be domiciled under the NDE.

In the process the meeting became rowdy and Committee decided to go into a closed-door session to discuss the matter, but the Minister refused, insisting that further discussions be held in the presence of Journalists.

This enraged the lawmakers who told Keyamo to apologise to the committee, but he ignored and stood his ground and was asked to leave the meeting since he refused to apologise to Parliament for his action.

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