The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO, has described the House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara’s comment on the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, as irresponsible, and an insult to beneficiaries of the Initiative.

Recall, that Dogara had described the Social Welfare Scheme of the Federal Government, as vote-buying, at a one-day ‘Public Hearing on Vote-Buying and Improving Electoral Processes in Nigeria’, on Monday, in Abuja.

Reacting however, n a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke , the BMO said that it was shocking that Dogara could descend so low, just to score political points.

“Here is a man who presides over an arm of the National Assembly, which approved a budgetary allocation of N500 billion for 2016, and N400 billion for 2017, respectively, for this same Social Welfare Scheme.

“Speaker Dogara and his colleagues in the Senate, are also aware that all the Initiatives, including the very popular Trader-Moni, began in 2016, after a total sum of N110 billion was released.

“Cash disbursement was done throughout the previous years, and it is on record that the National Assembly was even keen on monitoring compliance of the SIPs

“Clearly, Speaker Dogara is not sincere, otherwise he would not describe an Initiative that started in 2016, as vote-buying.

“And like the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, once said, any attack on the Trader-Moni Scheme, is an attack on hardworking petty Traders and Nigerians in general; and we dare say that Speaker Dogara has shown clearly that he does not have the interest of the masses at heart.”

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The pro-Buhari group also questioned Dogara’s understanding of the components of SIP, when he said that the funds were being disbursed by public officials.

“That was a subtle dig at Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who had to launch the Trader-Moni Scheme in Markets across the country, including the very successful one in Ilorin, Kwara State, that got the National Assembly leadership fuming on seeing the large turnout of people.

“Surely, the Speaker would not want Nigerians to wonder at the calibre of people in charge of the two Legislative Chambers, when even the average people on the street know that disbursement is not done physically, but through the Bank of Industry.

“Or is he saying that he did not fully grasp a programme he led the House of Representatives to approve, when he was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress?

“For the avoidance of doubt, the SIP Schemes are organic poverty-fighting policies, based on a World Bank template, not like the tricycle-sharing or wheel barrow-distributing Initiatives that Dogara’s Peoples Democratic Party is known for.

“At the last count, the programme is providing direct support for over 13 million beneficiaries, and 3,999,000 secondary beneficiaries, out of which the National Cash Transfer alone is touching lives in 26 States, where more than 300,000 poor Nigerians receive N5,000 monthly, while beneficiaries of Trader-Moni are 2.3 million people”, the BMO added.

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