The Special Adviser to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment Programme (SIP), Maryam Uwais, has tackled the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, over on conditional cash transfer during the Coronavirus lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Uwais said the claims made by Lawan and Gbajabiamila on conditional cash transfer are “regrettable and dangerous.”
Lawan and Gbajabiamila had faulted the manner in which SIP was being implemented during the 14-day lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
At a meeting with Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, in Abuja on Tuesday, the leaders of the national assembly demanded a reform of the programme.
While the speaker wondered what parameters the government was using to implement the programme, the senate president said: “I think we have not been able to reach far out there to get them properly captured.”
But in a statement on Wednesday, Uwais said some of the claims of Lawan and Gbajabiamila were false.
She said it is untrue that beneficiaries were made to meet requirements such as presenting a bank verification number (BVN) as claimed by Lawan.
“That as part of the conditions for poor and vulnerable beneficiaries to be engaged, they are made to apply online, through the internet and they require a BVN for payment. UNTRUE,” she said.
“The utilization of the BVN for N-Power beneficiary payment is also as a means of identity (since the NIN number can be generated from the BVN) and to facilitate the tracking of payments and further ensure accountability.
“The identities of the cash transfer beneficiaries are protected by law (the FOI Act), as the consent of recipients of social grants is a prerequisite, before disclosure. They can, however, be found and verified through the LGA community facilitators (CTFs) who have been trained to support them by weekly visits to the wards.
“The names, wards, LGAs, States and phone numbers of the CTFs can be found at http://n-sip.gov.ng/resource-data/, as the data collation continues to grow around the country.
“The Leadership of the Senate also stated that the NSIP information was not accessible to the National Assembly. UNTRUE.
“The monthly reports of 3,000 N-Power monitors, spread across the 774 LGAs, are available to both Poverty Alleviation Committees of the NASS. It should also be noted that the accounting and procurement aspects of the NSIPs were handled by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning on behalf of the NSIO, and not the OVP.
“It was further asserted, apparently, that because the beneficiaries are not known personally to the NASS members, the National Social Register is a ‘scam’ and needs to be reformed through a process that is ‘more inclusive’ of the NASS. REGRETTABLE & DANGEROUS.”
Uwais said the national social register has the names of people that were selected within the constituencies of the federal lawmakers, adding that no person is taken from one community to another.
“Having handed over the NSIPs in October 2019, I assume no responsibility for the operations thereafter as the Ministry is well positioned to handle the NSIPs and take decisions thereupon,” she said.