ActionAid Nigeria, a non governmental organization has vehemently rejected the plan to use the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), funds for the 2019 general elections.
In a statement signed by the country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to work with the legislature and seek creative ways of sourcing funds for the elections instead of tampering with the SIP fund .
The Organization equally appealed , that Nigeria must not continue to use that which is meant for the poor but rather find more ways of creating opportunities to lift people out of poverty.
The statement which reads in parts said, “ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) read with utmost dismay a news report on the plan to divert about ₦121 billion of the funds allocated to the National Social Investments Programme (NSIP) to the 2019 general elections.
” As an organisation that has been involved in coordination of third party monitoring of the NSIP, ActionAid Nigeria laments government’s challenges and poor planning that has led it to consider tampering with funds meant for a programme that has touched the lives of several impoverished Nigerians. At inception in 2016, the government promised N500billion annually, but released only N140biilion in 2017 and N80billion in 2016.
“The meals provided in primary schools through the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) have enriched the learning experiences of many children in Nigeria who would have otherwise gone without food the whole day.
“Many of the children in our rural communities look forward to feeding in the schools and learning – nourishment to their bodies and their minds. Having visited schools in some of the most remote parts of Nigeria and seeing little children run in to school just to have a meal for a day, and exclaiming after receiving their meal “Thank God I will eat well today” one is moved to push for the programme to continue.
“The NSIP contributes to addressing the problem of out-of-school children in Nigeria and should be sustained; AAN is urging the government to release the remaining funds for the SIP to enable Nigerians fully reap the dividends of the programme.
“Several youths who would have been otherwise unemployed have had their livelihood enhanced with work as N-Agro, N-Build, N-Health and N-Tax beneficiaries. The number of N-Teach beneficiaries who find hope in imparting knowledge on children in public schools and in turn receive a stipend of ₦30,000 for a full month’s work, leaves one with a strong desire to see more youths empowered to uplift more Nigerians from poverty.