The Muhammadu Buhari administration’s Social Intervention Programmes (SIP’s) has made little impact in addressing challenges facing Nigerian youth despite the billions invested in it over the past five years, according to Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Borno South senatorial district, said this on Sunday, while he appeared on a Channels Television programme, Politics Sunday.
He said the poor output and slow progress of the programmes were as a result of poor implementation by its administrators handling the projects.
“I can tell you that from the beginning, we came in with three main agenda. One is to secure the country, two is to fight corruption, and three is to provide infrastructure. You cannot say that the president has not performed in these three areas. But the impact and then the implementation is the problem.
“Under normal circumstances, you don’t expect the president to do that personally himself. He is supposed to get the able hands. That is where the problem started. That is where we have the problem.
“I will give you an example, in the case of the youth. When we were campaigning, we saw many youths and the president asked, what are we going to do with this? That was when the idea of N-Power came,” Mr Ndume said.
The N-Power programme is one of the four empowerment schemes set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to improve the living conditions of millions of poor Nigerians across the country.
The scheme was domiciled in the office of the vice president, Yemi Osinbanjo during Mr Buhari’s first term in office. It has since been moved to the Humanitarian Affairs ministry, headed by Sadiya Farouq at the inception of the President’s second term in office.
The SIPs include the school feeding programme for primary school pupils, N-Power for jobless graduates, the conditional cash transfer for elderly vulnerable Nigerians, and the government empowerment programme that includes TraderMoni – giving microloans to small-scale traders.
However, since the inception of the schemes, N500 billion has been budgeted for its four components, with many Nigerians questioning their impact.
The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, had in May 2019, criticised the social investment programmes (SIP) administration, formerly coordinated by Maryam Uwais, a senior special assistant to her husband, Mr Buhari.
Mrs Buhari said the initiative failed to reach its intended beneficiaries, in at least Adamawa and Kano states.In the same vein, during the Covid-19 induced-lockdown, reported in April, how the leadership of the National Assembly criticised the Humanitarian Minister’s approach to distributing social grants to Nigerians who bore the economic brunt of the pandemic.
Similarly, while Mr Ndume accused government officials of not doing their job to ensure proper implementation of the SIP’s; he also spoke on how the Covid-19 palliatives d by the organised private sector and the government were not properly distributed to vulnerable Nigerians.
Both the federal government and other private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) had on separate occasions provided and distributed relief items such as food, medical supplies, and other commodities to state governments and Abuja, for distribution to vulnerable Nigerians to combat the economic effects of the pandemic.
Many of these items had been delivered and handed over to the state governments for distribution to their citizens.
While some state governments claimed they have distributed the items to the vulnerable members in their various communities, some chose to warehouse theirs for whatever reasons.
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Some of the warehouses have now been raided and looted with wanton destruction of public and private property occasioned by the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest.
Mr Ndume said, “In the first year he approved N500 billion and the money was released for graduates to be employed, especially in teaching and other areas and all that. But if you hear the number and the impact, they don’t just add up. You hardly see it on the ground, that is where the problem is.”
“For the past five years, the president has been supporting the people. He came up with TraderMoni and then Anchor’s Borrower’s Project, he came up recently with a youth investment programme of N75 billion and then another additional N25 billion was set aside to pay attention to the requirement that will enable them to take off.
“But those charged with the responsibility of implementing these laudable projects approved by the president are not doing their job.
“You could see even during the COVID-19 pandemic when there was lockdown, the president and the business community and the non-governmental agencies came in and then gave the support.
“But then what happened? They went and locked these things in various warehouses and then the people went and ransacked those places. All these things would have been avoided.”