… Spends N195bn on Social Investment Programme
By Ayo Fadimu
The President has issued a strong warning to Ministers and other top government officials that he won’t hesitate to sack any of them found to be corrupt or involved in shady deals the same way he fired a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.
The President spoke through the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande in a statement on Sunday evening.
The President insisted that he has zero tolerance for corruption and maintained that integrity would continue to be his watchword.
AccordIng to Akande, the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan inflicted so much pain on Nigerians by embezzling the funds meant to build the economy.
“A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko allegedly made away with $3bn in a strategic alliance contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,” Akande alleged.
While saying the present administration was aware of attempts to raise unsubstantiated claims about the government and its officials, Akande said this administration had proven itself to be above board.
He said, “What Nigerians know is that this administration has shown itself clearly to be above board, and has ensured no sacred cows at all where evidence has been tabled
We have set out a Social Investment Programme, that currently is providing, under one of the clusters, the National Homegrown School Feeding, where we are providing one free meal a day to 7.6 million pupils across 24 states in the nation. This is at a time when the income of the country is down. We are using public resources to take care of the people. “In the past, public resources were shared by persons who found protection within government, and we have given this information and the facts are out there. More such information coming. Make a note of this, there hasn’t been any serious contests of these claims for the most part. “ So, we have under the Social Investment Programmes, the N-Power.
This programme is designed to hire half a million otherwise unemployed Nigerian graduates, we have done 200,000 to date who are engaged in their local communities and receiving N30,000 per month stipend, 200,000 of them. They have a tablet that they can work with, which also gives them exposure and more skills. “We are doing this at a point in time when the income of this country is lower than what it was when they were stealing it. “Look at the micro-credit programme, where we have about N300,000 soft loans that have been written; interest free loans to artisans, market women and men, between N10,000 and N100,000 have been given to over 300,000 people and we are hoping to do a million. We are spending the resources of this country on the people of this country.
”The same thing under the Conditional Cash Transfer, we have done close to almost 300,000, we are giving N5,000 every month and again, we intend to do this for one million people. All of these programmes are on, and we have given N5000 to those deemed to be the poorest and most vulnerable.
“We are spending billions of Naira on the Social Investment Programme. We have spent already, N195 billion in the last two years and we are doing it at a time when the income of this country is declining. “What about the revitalisation of the fertiliser plants? Plants that have otherwise been moribund in Kastina and other parts of the country have been revived and the price of fertiliser has dropped today. “What about rice?
The people in the industry, the Farmers Association, the people in the business have said that when we came in there were 5.8million farmers but today there are about 12million rice farmers. “Our rice importation is almost over. With the Anchors Borrowers Programme of this government, we have produced the highest numbers of farmer millionaires in the country. Rice farmers are beginning to be more and more prosperous and they are beginning to do more things. It is happening at a time the resources of the country are being spent on the people,” he said.