From: Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, resolved to investigate the N41.714 billion so far spent on the Social Investment Programme (SIP) by the Federal Government.
Consequently, the House mandated its Committees on Labour and Productivity and Poverty Alleviation to undertake the assignment.
The committees were also to ensure that the programme is implemented across the 36 states in the country.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved at plenary by Hon. Bode Ayorinde on the need to appraise the modalities for the implementation of the SIP.
Leading debate on the motion, Ayorinde recalled that during the last general election, the All Progressives Congress ( APC) promised that if elected , its government would run the SIP, which consists of a school feeding programme aimed to cover about 5.5 million primary school pupils and create jobs for 500, 000 graduates that would be paid N30,000 each.
He said the programme also included N5,000 monthly Conditional Cash Transfer to one million recipients and provision of loan facilities ranging from N10, 000 to N100, 000 for 1.66 million people, under its Enterprise Promotion Programme.
Ayonrinde noted that although the government claimed that as at April 2017, N41.714 billion had been spent on the programme. He said that the impact of the scheme has not been felt substantially across the country, two years after its commencement.
The lawmaker contended that so far only seven states have been covered in the School Feeding Programme, adding that his constituency in Ondo State has not benefitted from any aspect of the programme.
Legislators who contributed to the debate were unanimous in their views that the programme was not running in their respective states.
They therefore called for an investigation into the funds so far spent on the programme and the criteria for selecting the beneficiaries.
Hon. Sergius Ogun, one of the legislators who spoke on the motion, dismissed the SIP as a fraud, stating that two years into the life of the present administration, the programme was not operational in Edo State, where he hails from.
“It is not happening in my state. This programme is a fraud. We don’t know the people selected in this country to benefit from the programme. Like my colleagues say it is not happening in their states. So, I don’t know where the programme is operating,” the lawmaker stated.