Appearing unbothered by virulent criticisms of his display of a property he purchased in the United State, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, is busy fishing abroad.
Meanwhile, the Special Assistant on Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, has called on the National Assembly to publish a report of its investigation on the N52bn Special Works Programme, co-ordinated from the minister’s office.
Keyamo, on social media, said he published the video of himself jogging while stepping out of the $300,000 to bait persons he described as haters.
While not admitting he is one of the minister’s hater, Shaibu said:
“Recall that in 2021, the Federal Government had in a bid to ameliorate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, approved the sum of N52bn for the hiring of 774,000 Nigerians across all the local government areas in the country for three months.
“The 774,000 Nigerians were hired to take on menial jobs such as clearing of drainages, sweeping of markets, cutting grass and other community services.
“Keyamo had specifically orchestrated the sacking of the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), 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.
Reacting to Keyamo’s claim that he owns several houses in the US, Shaibu said, “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 US, 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 (EFCC) 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%. Under Keyamo, universities also witnessed prolonged strikes, as ASUU proceeded on a 10 months strike in 2020 and eight months 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.”
Keyamo had said that by letters dated March 6, 2019, before he was appointed a Minister, 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.
He further stated, “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.”
Reacting, however, Shaibu dared Keyamo to publish his asset declaration form as submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau in 2019.
He said since Keyamo had boasted many times about being an EFCC prosecutor and an anti-corruption champion, he ought to be bold enough to make his asset declaration forms public to prove that he was telling the truth.
Shaibu said, “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 an anathema to Gani and who Gani had accused of forgery and fraud – Bola Tinubu.”
On Twitter, Keyamo had written from his holiday base. He said: “Two days ago, I decided to bait the horde of sore losers at the last elections with a video of my vacation in ONE OF MY PROPERTIES abroad as I did a light workout.
“Expectedly, they fell so terribly for the bait. Being folks of low moral standards, they seem to view everyone from their own depraved universe. Given same position of public trust and authority, I bet they would easily compromise.
“So, they assume everyone will wallow in the same moral squalor like them. For some of us who have built a huge reputation of honour, integrity and accountability and championed the fight against corruption — long before public office- probity and openness remain our guiding principles.
“By letters dated March 6, 2019 (long before I was appointed a Minister and immediately I was appointed a Board member of the NDIC), and in line with our Constitution, I wrote to the relevant government agencies, informing them of the closure of my foreign account(s) and the repatriation of my funds to the country, being some savings I had made as a private legal practitioner and a property investor over decades.
“The numbers of those accounts, both abroad and in Nigeria were clearly stated in those letters. Those foreign funds were lying in my accounts until my appointment as a Minister later in 2019 and formed part of my assets declaration. In 2021, I again wrote to the relevant agencies (by letters dated January 22, 2021), informing them of the movement of those funds out of the country to purchase a property as a better investment decision, instead of the funds lying idly in the account whilst I am in public office. The letters were duly acknowledged.
“I followed up again with Whatsapp chats same day to the heads of those agencies, informing them of the delivery of those letters and the contents of the letters and they acknowledged receipt. I have the acknowledged copies of those letters and those chats and replies are still on my phone, showing the dates of those chats.
“So, I had a good laugh when I saw the trending issues regarding just one of my properties in the US. It is even very laughable to think that after active, high-profile practice of law culminating in my privilege as a member of the Inner Bar (together with being an International Arbitrator) and thoughtful investments in real estate spanning over 30 years, I cannot afford such a relatively modest property. Understandably, some people seem to underrate us because we live a simple, modest life and we are not given to ostentatious display of wealth and the vanities of life like some people do. Lol. Well, for these haters, I have another bad news for them: let me now disclose that of my entire real estate portfolio (both home and abroad), this is about the CHEAPEST of my several properties.
“Those who are VERY CLOSE to me over the years know exactly what I am talking about. My flourishing and manned law Chambers (whilst I am away on national assignment) and my real estate investments are still far more financially profitable than serving my country. Ours is a labour of love to my country. My Assets Declaration is there for all to see. (Again, this is verifiable.) 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. And yes, we have worked our socks off in the last 30 years! Please, expect more videos.”