The Presidency, yesterday, dismissed a report quoting Senator Danjuma Goje as suggesting that a sum of N1.5trillion has so far been released for the administration’s National Social Investment Programme (SIP).
Goje was reported as saying that by the end of three years, the programme would have handled an unprecedented sum of $1.5trillion, adding: “I am yet to see one boy who came to tell me that he has benefited from your N500 billion.”
But the Presidency, in a statement by the media aide to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, said: “First, we would like to hope that the senator was misquoted. However, were it to be true that he made such wild claims, it would be unfortunate.
“To restate the facts, while indeed we have budgeted a total of N500B for the 2016 and 2017 budgets each, including the N100billion for the Family Housing Fund in the 2017 budget, only a total of N175billion has so far been released since the commencement of the programme.
“It is incredible that the 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 on Thursday, his colleague from Kogi State, Atai Aidoko, requested from the Special Adviser to the President on SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, 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.”