A few days ago, the leaders of the National Assembly faulted the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) of the federal government of Nigeria lead by Mrs Maryam Uwais, special adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme (SIP).
In a meeting held on Tuesday, April 7 with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq and some top officials of the Ministry, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, all of whom faulted the way and manner the SIP scheme had disbursed over N2 trillion made available to the scheme by the FGN.
The leaders had described the N2tr Social Investment Programme as a failure following the recent way in which the “conditional cash transfer” scheme was implemented during the 14-day lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Uwais, however, described the lawmakers’ comment as “false and dangerous.” She described Lawan’s comment of beneficiaries being forced to present BVNs as untrue.
In her statement
“That as part of the conditions for poor and vulnerable beneficiaries to be engaged, they are made to apply online, through the internet and they require a BVN for payment. UNTRUE.
“The utilization of the BVN for N-Power beneficiary payment is also as a means of identity (since the NIN number can be generated from the BVN) and to facilitate the tracking of payments and further ensure accountability.
“The identities of the cash transfer beneficiaries are protected by law (the FOI Act), as the consent of recipients of social grants is a prerequisite, before disclosure. They can, however, be found and verified through the LGA community facilitators (CTFs) who have been trained to support them by weekly visits to the wards.
“The names, wards, LGAs, States and phone numbers of the CTFs can be found at http://n-sip.gov.ng/resource-data/, as the data collation continues to grow around the country.
“The Leadership of the Senate also stated that the NSIP information was not accessible to the National Assembly. UNTRUE.
“The monthly reports of 3,000 N-Power monitors, spread across the 774 LGAs, are available to both Poverty Alleviation Committees of the NASS. It should also be noted that the accounting and procurement aspects of the NSIPs were handled by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning on behalf of the NSIO, and not the OVP.
“It was further asserted, apparently, that because the beneficiaries are not known personally to the NASS members, the National Social Register is a ‘scam’ and needs to be reformed through a process that is ‘more inclusive’ of the NASS. REGRETTABLE & DANGEROUS.”
She also disclosed that there is a national social register that has the names of people that were selected within the constituencies of the federal lawmakers, adding that no person is taken from one community to another.
Uwais concluded by saying;
“Having handed over the NSIPs in October 2019, I assume no responsibility for the operations thereafter as the Ministry is well positioned to handle the NSIPs and take decisions thereupon.”