The National Assembly has dismissed claims made against legislators by the Special Adviser to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Social Investment Programme, Maryam Uwais, as baseless and unfair.
Uwais had in a statement on Wednesday, alleged that legislators were criticising the implementation of the SIP partly because some of them tried but failed in their bid to insert the names of would-be beneficiaries.
The Presidential aide explained that her statement on the NSIP was to safeguard the “entitlements of the poorest of Nigerian citizens, whose benefits are likely to cease because they are not known or connected to the National Assembly members.”
However, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi, on Thursday, advised that Uwais, like other public officials, should be “receptive to constructive ideas and suggestions expressed to enhance service delivery” and ought to seek clarifications from the legislators when in doubt.
The statement read in part, “The leadership of the National Assembly would not have suggested an enabling legislation for the NSIP if it does not believe in the relevance of the scheme.
“We believe a misrepresentation misled the Special Adviser to the President to issue a rejoinder containing unfortunate insinuations, which were totally extraneous to the discussions at the meeting and the contemplations of the National Assembly.
“We take strong exception to the innuendo by the presidential aide that her rejoinder was issued towards safeguarding the entitlements of the poorest of Nigerian citizens, whose benefits are likely to cease because they are not known or connected to NASS members or any other person of influence.
“That insinuation is unfair to the members of the National Assembly and entirely baseless. Public officeholders should be receptive to constructive ideas and suggestions expressed to enhance service delivery and to improve the performances of public projects and institutions.”
The Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had at a meeting with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, on Tuesday observed that the most vulnerable Nigerians were being left out of the NSIP. They called for a review of the scheme.