Former Minister of State for Labour and Employment and ministerial nominee, Festus Keyamo, SAN, expressed remorse to the Senate on Monday, acknowledging his perceived disrespect towards the ninth Assembly.
He clarified that he had previously tendered apologies to Senator Godiya Akwashiki, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, Employment, and Productivity, as well as his counterpart in the House of Representatives during the ninth Senate.
Keyamo stated, “I apologize to the Senate. I am sorry, I am sorry, and I am sorry.”
Addressing the issue of a program whose funds were managed by the World Bank, Keyamo emphasized that he and other agency heads had no access to the funds. Their responsibility was limited to generating beneficiary lists, while the money was directly deposited into the recipients’ accounts. He assured that detailed records and data of beneficiaries were kept within the ministry.
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The ministerial nominee, who was nominated by President Bola Tinubu at the last minute, appeared before the Senate for his ministerial nomination on Friday.
During the session, Darlington Nwokocha (LP, Abia Central) moved a motion to suspend the nominee’s screening, citing past instances where Keyamo had insulted lawmakers from both chambers during his previous tenure as a minister under the last administration. Nwokocha also raised concerns about corruption charges against the nominee and his failure to respond to the National Assembly summons in 2020 regarding the employment scheme that recruited 774,000 Nigerians for the special public works program.
Following a rowdy session, Senate President GodsWill Akpabio intervened and the Senate proceeded into a closed-door meeting to address the matter. After the meeting, Keyamo offered his apologies to the lawmakers when the plenary session resumed three hours later.