Lawyer threatens NDE with court action over N52Bn SPW disbursement.

An Abuja based legal practitioner and social crusader, Abdulazeez Tijani has invoked the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act against the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), demanding details of disbursement of N52bn to some youths under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Public Work (SPW) policy.

The disbursement of the N52bn approved and released to NDE by the former President was said to have been supervised by the office of the immediate past Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo.

Keyamo who was taken up on the issue by some Senators during his screening as a Ministerial nominee had claimed on the floor of the Senate that all registers and records of the beneficiaries are domiciled with the NDE.

Keyamo had told the lawmakers that the account details and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of the 774,000 youths who benefited under the SPW policy of former President Buhari can be accessed under the NDE.

Armed with Keyamo’s revelation, the lawyer cum social crusader, in a letter to the Director General of the NDE applied for Certified True Copies of the list of the 774,000 beneficiaries, their account details and evidence of disbursement to the accounts.

He cited section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the enabling law to back up his demand for the N52 billion naira payment facts.

In the later dated August 10, 2023 and received same day in the NDE Headquarters in Abuja, the lawyer claimed that as a law- abiding citizen of Nigeria, he became curious to know the true state of affairs in relation to the Special Public Works involving 774,000 youths and disbursement of N52bn to them as claimed in the Senate by the former Minister.

In compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, the legal practitioner said he will undertake to be responsible for the cost of production of the demanded documents.

In the letter obtained by our correspondent, the lawyer warned the NDE Director General to take the 30- day ultimatum as a pre- action notice and act within the period to meet up with his demands in line with the provision of the enabling law.

The legal practitioner warned that unless his demands are met, he would have no option than to approach the Federal High Court for an order of Mandamus that would compel approval of his demands.

It will be recalled that the sum of N52 billion was allocated for the SPW programme which was coordinated by the NDE under the supervision of the then Minister of State for Labour and Employment.

The programme was targeted at employing 1,000 unskilled youths in each of the 774 local government areas for three months across the country.

The beneficiaries were expected to engage in public service works and receive a monthly stipend of N20,000 each for three months.