The Presidency, on Friday night, slammed Senator Danjuma Goje for saying he was yet to see any beneficiary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP).
DAILY POST reports that Senator Goje criticised the SIP after Maryam Uwais, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, informed the National Assembly that the programme received between 2016 and 2017 N175billion out of the N1 trillion approved in the budgets for the two years.
However, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Friday night, also tackled Goje for saying during a Senate Appropriation Committee hearing Thursday that N1.5 trillion had so far been released for the SIP.
The vice president’s spokesman described the senator’s statement as unfortunate and irresponsible.
He said: “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.”
Akande explained that while N500bn was budgeted for the programme in 2016 and 2017 each, only a N175bn had so far been released.
“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,” he stated.
He said the SIP was touching lives as the testimonies were abound, adding that by God’s grace, more lives would be touched this year.
He said Buhari’s administration would not relent in the vigorous pursuit of the SIP in line with the manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
According to Akande, the Presidency hopes and plans to ramp up all the schemes to widen the scope and bring in more beneficiaries.
“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.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, there are today in this country 200,000 previously unemployed Nigerian graduates who are receiving their N30,000 monthly stipends as they serve their communities in different capacities including as teaching assistants, Agric extension aides or community health workers.
“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.”