The Presidency has slammed Senator Danjuma Goje over his criticism of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari in Vice President semi Osinbajo’s Office, Laolu Akande, said contrary to Goje’s view, the programme is touching the lives of many Nigerians.
Akande denied the claim that the SIP has received over a N1 trillion already.
Goje had during the 2018 Budget defence of the Office of the SIP, headed by Maryam Uwais, said the impact of the programme was not being felt.
He said it was going the way of other programmes by the former President Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
The statement by Akande on Saturday reads “Our attention has been drawn to a news report quoting Senator Danjuma Goje as suggesting that a sum of N1.5Trn has so far been released for the National Social Investment Programme of the Buhari Administration.
“The distinguished senator was reported as saying that by the end of three years the NSIP would have handled an unprecedented sum of $1.5Trillion. He was speaking at a Senate Appropriation Committee hearing on Thursday.
“The Senator was also quoted directly that ‘I am yet to see one boy who came to tell me that he has benefited from your N500 billion.’
“First we would like to hope that the senator was misquoted. And we call on him to make the necessary clarifications.
“However were it to be true that he made such wild claims, it would not only be unfortunate but certainly an irresponsible statement.
“To restate the facts, while indeed we have budgeted a total of N500B for the 2016 & 2017 Budgets each, including the N100B for the Family Housing Fund in the 2017 Budget, only a total of N175B has so far been released since the commencement of the historic Buhari Social Investment Programme.
“It is incredible that the distinguished senator will insinuate otherwise. If actually he was accurately reported, we would say he ought to have requested for the information instead of misleading an entire nation with such an incredible claim.
“While the Senator was claiming he knew no one from his State who has benefited from the SIP at a Senate Committee hearing, his colleague from Kogi State, distinguished Senator Atai Aidoko requested from the Special Adviser to the President on SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, (who was before the Appropriations Committee) for a random name of a beneficiary from his State, called the number there and then and got positive confirmation from the beneficiary. That Senator then formally announced the outcome of his random call to the entire Senate hearing.”
Akande also disclosed that there are 200,000 previously unemployed Nigerian graduates who are receiving their N30,000 monthly stipends as they serve their communities in different capacities as teaching assistants, Agric extension aides or community health workers.
He said “There are today in our nation more than 7.4 million primary school pupils in 22 States who are being fed one hot meal a day under the Buhari SIP. Almost 300,000 Nigerians are also receiving N5000 monthly cash transfer among our most vulnerable & poorest citizens. Our target for the cash transfer is one million. And there are almost 300,000 Nigerians who have benefited from micro-credit loans of between N10, 000 to N100,000.
“These are the facts and the selection process for the beneficiaries are open, transparent and can be easily cross-checked by any diligent inquirer.
“Finally, the Buhari Administration will not relent in the vigorous pursuit of the SIP in line with the manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress. And in this year, we hope and plan to ramp up all the schemes to widen the scope and bring in even more beneficiaries. The SIP is touching lives and the testimonies are all around us. More lives would be touched this year by the special grace of God.”