Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Gombe State Government has described Senator Danjuma Gojeâ€™s claim that the state did not benefit from the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) of the federal government as â€œbaseless.â€
Goje, who doubles as Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, had threatened to cut down on the proposed National Social Investment Programmes’ (NSIP) N500 billion allocation in the 2018 budget over allegation that no single person from Gombe State had benefited from the N-Power programme.
In a prompt response, the Gombe State Government described Gojeâ€™s claim as â€œuntrueâ€, noting that the state currently enjoys the services of over 2,800 beneficiaries of N-Power programme who are presently providing services in the health, agro-allied and education sectors respectively.
A press statement signed by Hajia M.I Mele, the Special Adviser to Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, on Social Investment Project, explained that an additional 7,000 people from the second batch of the NPower programme had been verified and are awaiting placement and postings.
Her words: â€œIt may interest the distinguished senators that 2,809 food vendors are currently providing highly nutritious meals to about 286,000 pupils in the state.
“In Senator Gojeâ€™s Senatorial District, 162 food vendors have being verified to provide meals for 14,342 pupils daily in the Senatorâ€™s local government which happens to have the highest number of vendors and pupils in the State. â€œ
The statement posited that a total of 419 food vendors have been engaged by the NPower programme in Gombe state with more than 36,117 pupils fed at the grassroots.
â€œYamaltu Deba Local Government happens to be amongst the 3 pilot Local Government Areas for the conditional cash transfer program, a local government within the senators constituency.
â€œMore than 200 cooperative groups from Senator Gojeâ€™s constituency have so far applied for the government empowerment and entrepreneurship program (GEEP) and awaiting disbursements from bank of industry,â€ Mele added.
The statement further commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) for the wonderful initiative aim at addressing the poor and vulnerable in the country.
According to her, the State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo has provided unwavering support to the overwhelming success of the program in the state.
It, however, urged lawmakers at the national assembly not to play politics with matters of national importance especially those that aim at addressing the poor.
â€œThe National Assembly should key in to the success of the program and appropriate more funds in order to maintain the tempo of the programme and support the President Muhammadu Buharis focus on poverty alleviation and socio economic development,â€ Mele added.
Meanwhile, Nigerians from all walks of life have taken to social media to lambast former governor of Gombe State, and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje for his comments faulting the Federal Governmentâ€™s Social Investment Programmes (SIP).
The SIPs include N-Power, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, GEEP and Conditional Cash Transfer.
According to some, they believe that Goje criticised the FG because of the impact of the programme on improving the welfare of the poor, unlike his claim.
In response, one Aliyu Saidu, said, â€œI strongly believe there are 2 reasons why Sen GOJE and other senators are against President Buhariâ€™s SIP. One, Senator like Goje dont get a single Kobo from the projects as bribe, two, FG doesn’t allow NASS members to select the beneficiaries of N-POWER, Food suppliers.”
Another Nigerian, with the handle, @legacy8327, said Gojeâ€™s criticisms of the programme was because there was â€œno sharing of money in the senate anymore,â€ adding that the senatorâ€™s comments were â€œvery unfortunate.â€
Beneficiaries of the SIP also expressed their reservations with Gojeâ€™s comments which they said, were unfounded.