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N500 Billion SIP: Donor Agency Says Aisha Buhari Was Wrong, Praises Uwais



Aisha Buhari Physics Student

Assertions by First Lady Aisha Buhari that the N500 Billion Social Intervention Programme, SIP of the Federal Government was a colossal failure were on Tuesday rebuffed by one of the country’s most entrenched donor agencies, Action Aid.

Action Aid in a statement issued on Tuesday said the SIP had made notable impact on the citizenry though the agency said there were still opportunities for improvement.

The statement came against the background of repeated comments by Mrs. Buhari in Adamawa and Katsina States in the last two weeks that the programme anchored by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s office had failed.

She buttressed her claim on the strength of assumptions that she does not know anyone who benefited from the programme.

Entering the fray on Tuesday, Action Aid Nigeria, AAN in a statement issued by the body’s country director, Mrs. Ene Obi said:

“Actionaids Nigeria has been following the comments and thoughts of concerned Nigerians on the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme in Nigeria.

“From the monitoring conducted, there are clear evidence of meals provided in primary schools through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), this resulted in more pupils going to school, improved concentration of pupils during classroom teaching, reduction in absenteeism, and in some cases reduction in the rate of illness among pupils as reported by headteachers, parents and pupils in the communities visited.

Action Aid Says Mariam Uwais doing a good job

“On the N-Power programme, Government officials at state levels heading the Places of Primary Assignments/sites generally, confirmed the added value that beneficiaries of the programmes brought to their schools, Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC), agricultural establishments, and offices.

“The monitoring exercise also confirmed that schools that were in critical need of teachers got beneficiaries to teach through the N-Power programme, and other non-teaching establishments also gained trained labour to add to their existing workforce.

“On GEEP there is need for system strengthening and public enlightenment for the programme to gain more ground with the citizens.”

“The amount that is voted for the N-SIP should be released. ActionAid Nigeria acknowledges that the N-SIP contributes in addressing the problems of out-of-school children and youth unemployment in Nigeria and knows the programmes are impacting on the lives of Nigerians albeit at different levels.

“We believe more Nigerians can be reached if the voted funds are released, because the intentions are good and commend the highly competent technical staff of the NSIO led by Mrs. Maryam Uwais for the job done so far.

“Based on our experience, the National Social Investment Office listens to feedback from the CSOs and many other stakeholders, that is why AAN is happy to be part of the

process and encourage all Nigerians to take interest in how the programmes are being implemented in their locality.

“There is however room for improvement for which AAN has made independent recommendations. AAN is grateful to all the CSOs, Citizens Group and other critical stakeholders for their support and professionalism in monitoring the NSIP and encourage them to continue to be transparent as they are held accountable to citizens as well.”

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