The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has said 413,630 beneficiaries have been paid approximately N24,000,817,800.00 billion under the 774,000 Special Public Works Scheme as of June 24th, 2021.
Speaking on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the presidential media team in Abuja, Keyamo said the beneficiaries are drawn from rural communities and mostly itinerant workers.
He debunked claims that the special works scheme may have failed over initial delays to effect payment, saying it has attained 60 per cent success rate.
He said: “On the same persons appearing all the time in respect of all federal government programmes in some states. Whilst I don’t have the full facts regarding that, I will not also, in my true conscience, dispute your assertion.
“I will not because I know how the political terrain operates now, where you have godfathers everywhere as they are bringing a programme of federal government, they hand it over to who they call the leader.
“That is how it operates regrettably, any programme in fact, they capture it like bandits here in Abuja. Before it leaves Abuja as it is coming out straight from the villa, a fresh government project is captured here and handed over to their structures in the state.
“So I will not dispute it. I may not have the true picture and the impact of it and whether it is actually truly going on in every state, and the widespread nature of it.
“But like I said, What we try to do in this programme, that is why perhaps I faced some resistance, all of that we have put behind us.
“So I don’t want to wake up to all those scandals but we moved on at the end of the day in peace, because everybody realised that we needed to serve the Nigerian people. But that was why we designed it that way to be multi-sectorial.
“There is no programme ever before run by any government before us that you will see people who are not politicians brought into the selection process.
“I saw some opposition leaders complaining about the special public work that they didn’t get enough of. And the question we asked them was that while you were running your own PDP programme, did we even hear anything about it as politicians? Did we hear anything about it?
“Remember this one they ran, what they called the YouWin Programme then, it was just a purely political patronage programme.”
Keyamo added that the scheme under his watch considered religious leaders as well as senators of APC or PDP extraction to bring 30 persons.
He said: “They can complain about inadequacy now that oh, we didn’t get enough numbers. In the past as opposition did we get any at all? Did we even know how? People are complaining and that is to tell you the nature of President Buhari.
“There is the school feeding programme going around the country, it is purely in the hands of opposition in many states. The APC in those states don’t even know how those school feeding programmes are being carried out.
“But what would the president say? If you come to him he will say they are all Nigerians. He will say it is meant for all Nigerians.
“But party members will be complaining but he’s the father of the nation.
“He’s not the father of APC. Before the election of 2019, many of our APC members were mad. They were mad that this programme should be for the APC so that we can use it to run elections.
“But the President said no’ the president will just laugh despite all that, they were threatening that we are going to lose the election. PDP members were using this programme to empower their people in these states; APC had nothing to empower. Didn’t the president win? He won more people to his side by that. So, for us in this programme, we followed the president’s spirit.”