By Temitope Owotoki
Aisha Buhari, wife of the President, on Saturday said that the Federal Government Social Investment Programme (SIP), meant to help the poorest of the poor, has not yielded the required results in the north.
Mrs Buhari, who stated this at an interactive programme for women at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, disclosed that she was assured that 30,000 women will benefit from the programme from Adamawa but as the administration winds down, she was yet to hear from them.
“Concerning the N500 billion voted for SIP, that was part of 2015 campaigns where they promised to give out N10,000, feed pupils in primary schools and give N5,000 to the poorest of the poorer.
“The SSA to the President on Social Investment is a lady from Kano and I’m sure that my husband decided to put somebody from Kano because of the population and political impact it made.
“I have never asked how the money is being used or is being given out. I met Barrister (one of the President aides on SIP) once and he promised me that for my state (Adamawa) we should get 30,000 women to be given N10,000. Up till now I haven’t heard from him.
“I don’t want to raise alarm that my state do not benefit from it, where SGF came from, I kept quiet because I don’t want people to say that I talk too much.
“Recently I saw a 74-year-old man selling petty things in Kano, I asked him how much is his capital, he told me between N3,000 and N4,000. Don’t forget that we have campaigned to give the poorest of the poor, N5,000 every month.
“So I don’t know where the social investment… Maybe, It worked out in some states. In my own state, only a local government benefited out of the 22. I didn’t ask what happened and I don’t want to know but for it fail woefully in Kano, it’s not a good sign and it’s not a good thing.
“We have a lot of women that do business locally due to the cultural thing in the north, that are at home doing their businesses. Some are millionaires, some have thousands of naira, they need the assistance but they do not get it. Most northern women do not belong to any market association.
“I was expecting that N500 billion to be utilized in different methods in the north for the aim to be achieved. I don’t know the method they used but most of the northern states do not get it. My state do not get it.
“How many of you get it in your state? My state did not benefit from it.
“It worked out well in a situation whereby they have market associations but I was thinking different methods should be used in the North,” Mrs. Buhari said.
The SIP is under the control of Mrs. Maryam Uwais, who is the Special Adviser to the President.
Mrs. Buhari also expressed reservations on the $16 million counterpart fund expended on mosquito nets.
“I have heard about mosquito nets, Nigeria paid its counterpart fund, $16m. I asked them to give my own share of the net to send it to my village people. I didn’t get it.
“They have spent, $16 million on buying mosquito nets, I did not get it, maybe some people have gotten it. But I feel that, that’s my personal opinion, $16 million is enough to fumigate mosquitoes in Nigeria. That’s my opinion,” she said.
Mrs. Buhari, however, thanked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha for including women in the inaugural activities of the president for second term.
“I will also like to use the opportunity to thank the SGF for including women in the inaugural activities of Mr. President, this is what is called next level. They didn’t allow us to participate in politics but now they have started given us hope that we can be involved in certain things,” she said.
She also disclosed how she managed to include herself in an anti drug committee chaired by a former military administrator of Lagos, Buba Marwa.
“I also managed to put myself as member of the committee and wife of the Vice President. The wife of the Vice President has worked very well, it took her one year to go round schools in Abuja because of the level of abuse. Many girls don’t go to school because they are afraid of being raped while returning from school or when their parents are away.
“You know most of their parents are farmers. The revelation is beyond comment. I asked her to publicize her discovery but she didn’t, if she had done so, it would have served as lesson,” she said.
Aisha disclosed that the President has provided N12 billion for the treatment of trauma cases in across the country.
“Over N12 billion has been released by the president to take care of trauma cases in across the country. Can you please monitor the money? The ministers are going very soon and the money are being released,” she said.
She also used the occasion to appeal to the All Progressive Congress (APC) to refund the money female aspirants used in purchasing nomination forms in the last 2019 elections. She said women were marginalized in the elections despite their effort to get elected. She advised the women not to relent in the pursuit of their dreams and promised to continue to champion their course.