The Presidency on Friday described the statement credited to Senator Danjuma Goje on the present administration’s National Social Investment Programme as irresponsible.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
Akande was reacting to Goje’s claim that despite that N1.5trn had so far been released to the programme, he had yet to see a beneficiary in his state.
“I have yet to see one boy who came to tell me that he has benefited from your N500bn,” Goje was quoted to have said at a Senate Appropriation Committee hearing on Thursday.
But Akande said he hoped the senator was misquoted and called on him to make 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,” the presidential aide said.
Akande explained that while the government had budgeted N500bn each in the 2016 and 2017 budgets, including the N100bn for the Family Housing Fund in the 2017 budget, only N175bn had so far been released since the commencement of the programme.
He said it was incredible that the senator would insinuate otherwise.
The statement added, “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 had benefited from the SIP at a Senate Committee hearing, his colleague from Kogi State, 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’s SIP. Almost 300,000 Nigerians are also receiving N5,000 monthly cash transfer among our most vulnerable and poorest citizens.
“Our target for the cash transfer is one million. There are almost 300,000 Nigerians who have benefited from micro-credit loans of between N10, 000 and N100,000.”