By Umar Muhammad Puma and Lateef Ibrahim
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has accused the leadership of the Senate of acting the script of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar on the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It said in a statement by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, that the probe ordered by the senate is a ploy to cast aspersion on the social welfare scheme through unwarranted accusations BMO wondered how members of a political party that claims to be interested in the wellbeing of Nigerians would be keen on truncating series of programmes that have benefited millions of people across the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the programmes in question include N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, National Cash Transfer Project, and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which has three components-Trader Moni, Market Moni and Farmer Moni.
“We wonder which of these programmes that have cumulatively lifted millions of Nigerians out of poverty PDP senators want abolished!
“Is it the N-Power scheme that has employed 500,000 youth graduates who are paid a monthly stipend of N30,000 and deployed as volunteers in various sectors of the economy or GEEP which has so far reached over 1.1 Million Beneficiaries across the 36 States of the Federation, with N27.4 billion disbursed in interest-free loans, ranging from N10,000 to N350,000”.
It however welcomed the move by senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC to ensure that the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (Sure-P) was included in the probe This BMO argued would give members of the Senate panel especially those from PDP the opportunity to compare between the pro-poor initiative of President Buhari and a programme that was elitist in concept and practice.
“The probe would give the Senate ad-hoc committee led by Senator Ibrahim Gobir a better insight into one of Africa’s largest social welfare schemes which has touched lives in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory” it added.
The group is convinced that Nigerians especially the millions of SIP beneficiaries would revolt against the conspiracy to abolish the scheme by giving President Buhari a resounding endorsement in next year’s election for the continuity of the programmes.