Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to be careful the way he goes about implementing the TraderMoni, one of his administration’s Social Intervention Programmes (SIP).
Under the programme being implemented under the vice president’s office, beneficiaries receive funds ranging from N10,000 for the TraderMoni and N50,000 for the MarketMoni from the Bank of Industry, the bank implementing the fund.
Osinbajo had while unveiling the second phase of TraderMoni and MarketMoni in Awka and Onitsha, Anambra State, last week, said the government was targeting additional 2,000 beneficiaries.
Buhari who hosted Osinbajo, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), security chiefs and chief executives of Federal Government agencies to a breaking of fast at the Presidential Villa on Monday, warned the vice president to be careful with the way he moves from one market to the other.
“This market money, I warned the vice president, I don’t like him to be mobbed, especially the way I see hefty women coming and confronting him, he should be very careful.
“These are very good initiatives. Initially, I was quite reluctant but I must admit that they are very good programmes and they endear this government to a lot of poor people because of these N5,000 or N10,000 being given to them as loans.
“They are fantastic programmes and I have to admit quite honestly that the vice president was ahead of me by insisting on them.
“But he knows me, if he insists, I will say ‘okay go and do what you like.’ He did it and I’m very pleased as he is being very successful,” he said.
Buhari also frowned at the inability of the Nigerian elites to address the welfare and educational needs of the less-privileged in the country.
“When I drive around the country, what upsets me very much is the status of our poor people in this country. You see young people, the so-called Almajiris with torn dresses, with plastic bowl. They are looking basically for what to eat.
“The question of education (to them) is a luxury. I think Nigerian elite…we are all failing because I think we should have a programme that will, at least, guarantee some basic education for our people no matter how poor they are.
“So, I welcome the vice president initiation of the school feeding programme. If you check in your localities the enrolment into schools improved because a lot of children can get at least one good meal a day. This is the position of this country.
“But, culturally some of us are quite merciless, we don’t care about what happens to others. We just keep on moving forward,” he said.
On behalf of the cabinet members, Osinbajo thanked the president for inviting them, both Muslims and Christians, to the breaking of fast with him.
“Mr. President, I must say there are some reasons I had always looked forward to the Ramadan session. But some of those reasons are now being seriously challenged.
“The first of those reasons is that during the Ramadan meetings are usually very short. But, unfortunately last Wednesday Mr. President seemed to have destroyed that very good notion by taking us through the longest FEC meeting in the history of the Federal Executive Council.
“So, we shouldn’t expect anymore that meeting will necessary be short during the Ramadan.
“The second is that some of my friends are far less troublesome during the Ramadan. People like Lai Mohammed, Abba Kyari, Adamu Adamu, they are usually very well-behaved during the Ramadan. But I’m not even sure that that is true anymore.
“So, I think that all we can truly expect now from the session is possibility what it was meant to do which is to remind us of some of our responsibilities to ourselves as brothers and to our fellow men/women especially our roles as leaders.
“I think it is auspicious that this particular Ramadan falls at the eve of the new term in office.”