Officials of the Budget and Planning Ministry, which is responsible
for disbursing the fund, say the Senators and Representatives have
tabled a list of their demands regarding how they can share of the
The sources say the legislators are demanding that unless they are
allowed to select the beneficiaries of the SIP as well as award and
take contracts under the scheme, they would simply terminate the
program, which is designed to benefit ordinary Nigerians including the
most vulnerable and the poorest, as well as unemployed youths.
One Senator from one of the Niger Delta States threatened to "kill the
entire program," if Senators are not allowed to choose beneficiaries
of the N-Power jobs for unemployed graduates, while a Representative
from Kano State specifically demanded contract benefits. According to
a Kano State government source, it took the intervention of the
governor of that state to call the Representative to order.
Similarly, some Senators have demanded of the Presidency that Senators
be allowed to nominate 50 beneficiaries each for N-Power. That is in
opposition to a selection system that would guarantee equal
opportunity for all Nigerian youth by means of an online application
process. That system has already allowed in 200,000 Nigerian
previously unemployed graduates who got in without needing to press
any buttons whatsoever.
The Presidency has explained that the beneficiaries of all the SIPs
are being produced through that fair online application process, which
is also easily audited and cross-checked.
In several instances, some of the National Assembly and other partisan
political operatives have been reported to be selling illegal
application forms to unsuspecting Nigerians and charging illegal fees
in the process.
Said a government official, "They simply don't understand that
President Buhari would not tolerate any form of diversion of the
resources. Many of them still think it is business as usual. Why are
National Assembly members so desperate and when did it become a duty
of the legislator to implement or execute policies?"
An informed source explained that if the Buhari administration ever
succumbs to the demand of legislators to choose beneficiaries, not
only would they produce bogus lists, they would also exploit them by
taking significant percentages of their stipends and other monetary
While it is true that the SIP budgetary allocations in the 2016 budget
is the largest of its kind in the country, similar efforts of its kind
are known to have been compromised in the past by political
opportunists who see such programs as opportunities to enrich
themselves rather than to deliver services to the targeted
It would be recalled that already all the SIPs of the current
government have taken off. They include the employment of 200,000
graduates; the National Homegrown School Feeding program, in seven
states; and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which is being paid
to beneficiaries in nine states and is aimed at one million Nigerians
in its first budget cycle.
There is also the Government Economic and Enterprise Program, (GEEP),
which giving interest-free soft loans to Nigerians in over 13 states
of the federation in sums ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 each. GEEP
is meant to benefit about 1.6m Nigerian traders, and artisans, as well
as market men and women.