Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, has indicted the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, alleging that the implementation of Social Investment Programmes (SIP) failed in the North.
She made the disclosure on Saturday at an interactive programme for women at the State House, Abuja.
Mrs. Buhari further disclosed that she was assured that 30,000 women would benefit from the programme from Adamawa but as the administration winds down, she was yet to hear from the organisers.
According to her: “Concerning the N500 billion voted for SIP, that was part of 2015 campaigns; 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 (there) because of the population and political impact she cold make. I have never asked how the money is being used or is being given out. I met Barrister (one of the President’s aides on SIP) once, and he promised me that for my state (Adamawa), we should have 30,000 women given N10,000. Up till now, I haven’t heard from him.
“I don’t want to raise any alarm that my state did not benefit from the programme. 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 was his capital, he told me something between N3,000 and N4,000. Don’t forget that we had 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 councils. I didn’t ask what happened and I don’t want to know, for the programme failed 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, they are at home doing their businesses. Some are millionaires, some have thousands of Naira; they need assistance, but they do not get it. Most northern women do not belong to any market association
“I was expecting that N500 billion will be utilised 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 did not get it. My state did not get it,” he said.
“How many of you got it in your states?
My state did not benefit from it,” the women chorused.
Then Mrs. Buhari added: “It worked out well in a situation where they had market associations but I was thinking different a method should be used in the North.”
She also expressed reservations over the $16 million counterpart fund expended on mosquito nets.
“I have heard about mosquito nets which Nigeria paid $16m as counterpart funding. I asked them to give me my own share of the net to send on my village people. But I didn’t get that.
“They have spent $16 million on buying mosquito nets; I did not get any; maybe some people have got some. But I feel that’s my opinion; $16 million is enough to carry out fumigate against 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 a second term in office.
“I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the SGF for including women in the inaugural activities of Mr. President; this is what is called the ‘next level.’ They didn’t allow us to participate in politics, but now they have started giving 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 a member of the committee and the wife of the Vice President too. 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 there. 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 publicise her discovery, but she didn’t; if she had done so, that would have served as a lesson,” she said.
The wife of the president disclosed that the president had provided N12 billion for the management of trauma cases across the country.
“Over N12 billion has been released by the president to take care of trauma cases across the country. Can you please monitor the money? The ministers are going very soon and the money is being released,” she said.
Mrs. Buhari pleaded with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to refund the money women used in purchasing nomination forms ahead of the last 2019 elections.
She said the women were marginalised in the elections despite their effort at getting elected.
She advised the women not to relent in the pursuit of their dreams and promised to continue to champion their courses