Social protection feats? Osinbajo must be joking, By Yemi Adebowale

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government is proud of its accomplishments in the Social Investment Programme, adding that the “social protection” inherent in it is an entitlement of the citizens.

Osinbajo, who was speaking recently, while receiving a delegation from the FCT People Living with Disabilities Community, adds: “The Social Investment Programme is one of the biggest in Africa. We provided for young people with no employment (N-Power); we provided Conditional Cash Transfer for the poorest Nigerians. We provided TraderMoni, MarketMoni for 2.4 million traders. The Homegrown School Feeding Programme, we were able to feed 9.5 million children every day. We are proud of the fact that we were able to provide these services to the people.”

At another forum on March 2, The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq said no fewer than 1,940,004 vulnerable Nigerians are each currently receiving N5,000 cash gifts every month, under the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.

Honestly, I can’t understand what Osinbajo is celebrating. I am sure most Nigerians can’t understand too. Free meals for 9.5 million children every day? Where? When? How? Almost two million Nigerians receiving N5,000 cash gifts monthly? TraderMoni and MarketMoni for 2.4 million traders? The whole thing is looking weird. The kids who benefited from the school feeding were fed with a quantity of food not even suitable for birds. The truth that must be told is that Buhari’s National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, created in 2016 to tackle social and economic inequalities and alleviate poverty among Nigerians, has failed woefully. The impact has been inconsequential.

I am not sorry to say that the entire NSIP is a big fraud; billions of Naira down the drain. The Buhari administration can’t, in the real sense of it, account for the huge sums gulped by the NSIP. After seven years of Buhari’s bogus NSIP, there is still so much poverty in beloved Nigeria. Just look around you and you will understand what I’m saying. Early last year, Nigeria was listed as one of the “20 hunger hotspots” in the world in a joint report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Hunger is real in beloved Nigeria. In the report, the two agencies warned that acute food insecurity was likely to deteriorate further in Nigeria and 19 other countries. The FAO and WFP thereafter issued an early warning for urgent humanitarian action in Nigeria and the 19 other countries where part of the population is likely to face a significant deterioration of food insecurity that will put their lives and livelihoods at risk.

The FAO and WFP alerts are real. More Nigerians now struggle for a meal a day. Many can’t access the basic things of life like water and decent housing. While the NSIP is on, millions of Nigerians have been pushed below the poverty line by an economy mismanaged by Buhari. Joblessness has worsened with millions losing jobs in the Buhari years. The sad news is that with the NSIP in action, Nigeria surpassed India as the country with the largest number of people living in life-threatening poverty in the world. This country became the poverty capital of the world. Buhari and Osinbajo should be ashamed of this.

Source: First published in Thisday Newspaper

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