Wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, yesterday picked hole in the implementation of the federal government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP), saying it has failed in the North.
Speaking during an interactive program for women at the State House, Abuja, she lamented the inability of women in the North to benefit from the program.
Her lamentation came three days after the Presidential Adviser on Social Investment, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, said N470.8 billion was released by the Federal Government for the programme.
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The SIPs are; the N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes (GEEP).
Uwais said annually the federal government budgets N500 billion for social investment but that in 2016, N79.98 billion was released, 2017, N140bn and in 2018, N250.4 billion was released.
Aisha said: “Concerning the N500 billion voted for SIP, that was part of 2015 campaigns where they promised to give out N10,000, feed pupils in primary schools and give N5,000 to poorest of the poor.
“The SSA to the president on social investment is a lady from Kano and I’m sure that my husband decided to put somebody from Kano because of the population and political impact it made. I have never asked how the money is being used or is being given out. I met Barrister (one of the President aides on SIP) once and he promised me that for my state (Adamawa) we should get 30,000 women to be given N10,000. Up till now I haven’t heard from him.
“I don’t want to raise alarm that my state does not benefit from it, where SGF comes from, I kept quiet because I don’t want people to say that I talk too much. Recently, I saw a 74-year-old man selling petty things in Kano, I asked him how much is his capital, he told me between N3,000 and N4,000. Don’t forget that we have campaigned to give the poorest of the poor, N5,000 every month .
“So I don’t know where the social investment is. Maybe, it worked out in some states. In my own state, only a local government benefited out of the 22. I didn’t ask what happened and I don’t want to know but for it to fail woefully in Kano, it’s not a good sign and it’s not a good thing. We have a lot of women that do business locally due to the cultural thing in the North, that they are at home doing their businesses. Some are millionaires, some have thousands of naira, they need the assistance but they do not get it. Most northern women do not belong to any market association
“I was expecting that N500 billion to be utilized in different methods in the North for the aim to be achieved. I don’t know the method they used but most of the northern states do not get it. My state does not get it,“ she said.
The President’s wife added, “it worked out well in a situation whereby they have market associations but I was thinking different methods should be used in the North.”
She also expressed reservations on the $16m counterpart fund expended on mosquito nets.
“I have heard about mosquito nets, Nigeria paid its counterpart fund, $16m. I asked them to give my own share of the net to send it to my village people. I didn’t get it.
“They have spent $16m on buying mosquito nets, I did not get it, maybe some people have gotten it. But I feel that $16 million is enough to fumigate mosquitoes in Nigeria. That’s my opinion,” she said.
The President’s wife, however, thanked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, for including women in the inaugural activities of the President’s second term.
“I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the SGF for including women in the inaugural activities of Mr. President, this is what is called next level. They didn’t allow us to participate in politics but now they have started giving us hope that we can be involved in certain things,” she said.
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