By Sunday John
Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, says no government in recent history has invested more in women, youth and the vulnerable like the President Muhammad Buhari-led administration.
Umar-Farouk stated this at the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential campaign rally on Saturday in Lafia, Nasarawa State, where a large crowd of beneficiaries of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) came to show appreciation to the president.
She thanked Buhari for giving women the opportunity to serve in prominent positions in his government.
The minister added that market women, farmers, youths and indeed the vulnerable had benefited immensely under the social investment programme of the government domicile in her office.
She added that in Nasarawa State alone, NSIP had spent over N34.4 billion through the four clusters of Conditional Cash Transfer, N-power, National Homegrown School Feeding programme and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
“Your Excellency, let me state that since independence, no government has done what you have done for the poor people in this country. Without fear of contradiction, Your Excellency, you have done so much for the poor and vulnerable in your primary constituency.
“I stand here on behalf of the poor and vulnerable in this country who are mostly the beneficiaries of our National Social Investment Programmes to appreciate you.
“Under the National Social Investment Programme, we have four clusters, N-Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme which gives 2 million households N5,000 monthly. We give N30,000 monthly to our N-Power youths and so far we have 1.5 million of them.
“Under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, we feed Primary one to three pupils on school days. We have close to 10 million of these pupils, these are some of the parents of these pupils we feed daily. These are some of the people who receive N5,000 monthly.
“It is no wonder that when we went into recession, immediately we came out of recession because the money that people used to fend for themselves and members of their families. This is why we are here to ask for the consolidation of these achievements, to continue these programmes so that Nigerians will benefit from them.
“We have also been able to target small and medium entrepreneurs and we give them surplus collateral free and interest free loans from N50,000 to N300,000 for them to start their businesses,” the minister added.
Speaking on the sidelines of the campaign rally, Zainab Musawa, Technical Assistant to the Minister and Team Lead of GEEP, said the programmes have impacted greatly on the lives of the less privileged Nigerians.
“As you can see all around this place, the beneficiaries have come in large number to show appreciation to Mr President for changing their lives through the programmes,” she said.
Musawa explained that under the GEEP with the Trader Moni, Market Moni and Farmer Moni, beneficiaries, mostly women and youths with skills were trained and given interest-free loans to improve on their enterprise.
She said that the loan for the Trader Moni and Market Moni was N50,000 per beneficiary repayable in nine months with a three months moratorium.
She said the Farmer Moni ranges from N50,000 to N300,000 depending on the type of farming.
Some of the beneficiaries, Joshua Peter, Salamatu Abdullahi and Gloria Haruna, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), lauded the federal government for the intervention programme and called for its sustenance. (NAN).