- President Buhari's special assistant on social investment, Maryam Uwais, defended FG's Social Investment Programmes (SIP)
- The president's wife, Aisha Buhari, had earlier criticised the programme, saying it didn't have enough impact in the north
- Uwais, however, the wife of the president would have been able to track all beneficiaries of the project if she had access to available data
Following Aisha Buhari's criticism, Maryam Uwais, senior special assistant to the president on social investment, has defended the federal government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP).
Nigeria's first lady, Aisha, had on Saturday, May 25, decried the failure of the implementation federal governments' SIP in the northern part of the country.
Aisha speaking during an interactive program for women at the State House in Abuja lamented the inability of women in the north to benefit from the program.
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However, in her response, Uwais said the wife of the president would have been able to track all beneficiaries of the project if she had access to available data.
Uwais said the president's wife spoke without the knowledge of available records on SIP.
Addressing the criticism on Channels Television, the presidential aide said 190,000 beneficiaries are currently being paid under the investment programmes.
She said, for instance, that the conditional cash transfer programme is ongoing in 12 local governments in Adamawa, while over 11,000 graduates have been recruited in a similar package.
Uwais said: “I believe that if she (Aisha) were to listen to the information they have there, if she were to check on our data, she would be able to track all the beneficiaries.
“Yes, she may not have met them. But we are in 12 local governments for the cash transfer. And we are also in 12 LGAs for the loans. So, I think we have at least 290,000 beneficiaries directly that we are paying in Adamawa state.”
Uwais said the school feeding programme is also ongoing in over 1,000 public primary schools in Adamawa and that much more could have been done with more funding.
She said: “I’m saying that we have over 11,000 graduates recruited and working in her home state. We have non-graduates, 440; we started the school feeding programme in October 2018, we are in 1,054 public primary schools.
“And if we’ve done about 300,000 beneficiaries directly, I believe we could do so much more if we have sufficient funding. We have only scratched the surface in the sense that we don’t have the sufficient funding to address.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also reacted to the allegation made by the wife of the president.
The opposition party said Aisha vindicated its stance that the administration is deceitful when she made the claim on the social programmes and faulted the $16 million spent on the purchase of mosquito nets.
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