The Minister of Employment Labour and Productivity, Senate Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, apologised to the National Assembly over the recent altercation between the Minister of State for Labour, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, and a joint committee of the National Assembly over-sighting the ministry.
Keyamo had disagreed with the joint committee on the processes and modalities for implementing the Special Public Works programme of the Federal Government meant to hire 774,000 youths across Nigeria.
The beneficiaries are expected to be paid N20,000.00 per month for three months beginning from October to December 2020.
Ngige tendered the apology when he paid a courtesy call on the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in Abuja.
Keyamo and other top officials of the Ministry were part of the minister’s entourage.
Ngige said that the position canvassed by Keyamo in his widely circulated letter on Monday is not sacrosanct.
However in a dramatic twist, Keyamo told reporters that he is not bound by the Director of the National Assembly, saying he will approach the President for final directives on the matter.
He added that the matter will also go to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami for interpretation.
Ngige said: “We deeply regret the incident that happened at the last visit, the altercations that followed it between my Minister of State and members of the joint committee.
“Therefore, we decided that as a team we will come in full force and give you the necessary information that you will need so that we can fast-track this programme.
“Today in the 9th Senate we are enjoying a good and robust relationship with the legislature and we do not want some of us who have passed through this institution will do everything that is possible to maintain that relationship.
“Therefore, Mr Senate President, I apologise on behalf of the Ministry for what took place at the last time and I hope that this apology will be taken by the members of the Committee and the entire National Assembly because I am aware and I know that a committee is a representative of the whole.
“The Committee room is an extension of our hallowed chambers over there like the plenary chambers. I therefore, request that we forgive and forget.

“Let us turn a new page and start off on this programme which the National Assembly has indicated that it is suspended because we can’t suspend forever programme that affect our people…
“My Minister of State has put out a position paper, that position paper, nothing is sacrosanct there. We can still discuss and agree to agree after disagreeing.