Publish Your Asset Declaration Forms, Atiku’s Aide Tells Keyamo

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Phrank Shaibu, the Special Assistant on Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election, has urged the National Assembly to immediately release the findings of its investigation into the N52 billion Special Works Program carried out by Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment.

Shaibu made the demand in light of the information that the minister spent over $300,000 on a residence in the United States of America.

In an effort to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government granted N52 billion for the hiring of 774,000 Nigerians across the 774 Local Government Areas for a three-month period.

The 774,000 Nigerians were hired to take on menial jobs including clearing of drainages, sweeping of markets, cutting grass and other community services.

According to Shaibu, “Keyamo had specifically orchestrated the sacking of the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, Nasiru Argungu, insisting that he was in charge of the N52bn project which the National Assembly noted was a flop.

“Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had stated that many of the beneficiaries of the funds did not get anything, while others who got did not do any job. They, therefore, questioned Keyamo’s running of the programme and promised to launch an investigation into the matter.”

Shaibu also noted that “The National Assembly had described the special works programme as a sham and also questioned how the funds were spent. Keyamo had, for the last two years, defended the shambolic implementation of the programme.

“With his open confession that he has acquired houses in the United States of America, I hereby call on the National Assembly to publish its report on the failed project. I also call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to immediately probe the finances of Festus Keyamo, who only became a Senior Advocate two years before becoming a minister.

“It is public record that Keyamo was an activist and a prosecutor for the EFCC, doing mostly pro bono cases before taking public office. However, he now boasts of being a real estate mogul after becoming a minister. This is laughable and an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerians. In any case, Keyamo’s time as Minister of State for Labour and Employment witnessed the highest level of unemployment, which KPMG says is about to hit 40 per cent. Under Keyamo, universities also witnessed prolonged strikes, as the Academic Staff Union of Universities proceeded on 10 months strike in 2020 and eight months of industrial action in 2021. Keyamo clearly failed as a minister but grew wealthier in the process through his so-called real estate business. He thus needs to be investigated with immediate effect.”

In his defense, the minister had said that before his appointment, he wrote to the relevant government agencies, informing them of the closure of his foreign accounts and the repatriation of his funds to the country since Nigerian law does not allow public officials to operate foreign bank accounts.

“My assets declaration is there for all to see. Some of us don’t need government funds or patronage to get by. Whatever we do and whoever we support is out of our deep convictions,” he said.

Reacting, however, Shaibu dared Keyamo to publish his asset declaration form as submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau in 2019.

“Keyamo has one month left on his tenure as minister, which means he will need to declare his assets before the CCB next month. Let him make public his asset declaration forms, before and after office, to prove to Nigerians that he did not steal.

“The truth about Keyamo is that he is a hypocrite, a rabble-rouser who pretends to be on the side of the masses but is only after his stomach. He started as a disciple of the great Gani Fawehinmi but has since strayed from Gani’s ideals by serving as Spokesman for a man who was anathema to Gani and who Gani had accused of forgery and fraud, Bola Tinubu,” he added.

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