Senate in rowdy session over FG’s social intervention programme


The Senate on Wednesday erupted in a rowdy session that lasted more than 15 minutes over alleged bias in the disbursement of the Social Intervention Fund by the federal government.

Trouble started when the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South), who moved a motion, drew the attention of the senate to the alleged wrongful payment of the Social intervention fund as introduced by the federal government.

She stated that rather than pay the N10,000 to poor Nigerians, the money has taken a political colouration as it was being paid to supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the current government was using the money to buy voter cards ahead of 2019 presidential election.

The Ekiti lawmaker stated that beneficiaries of the social intervention programme were being asked to provide details of their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, in the application form, as the lawmaker presented a copy of the form, which according to her, has ‘I Stand with Buhari’ was written on it.

Olujimi’s explanation, which came under Order 42 of Senate rules  generated abrupt pandemonium at the background with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, having a hectic time trying to control the noise.

Attempts by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawal to speak was drowned by the tumultuous noise of senators, but he managed to say, “Let  me say from the onset that the social intervention of this present administration is computer based, and very transparent.

“For the first time in the history of this country,  you will see where the programme covers all nook and cranny of the country.”

Senator Albert Akpan interjected through Order 49 and 55(2) of Senate rules,  insisting on proposing a motion before debates. While Lawan was interrupted with shouts from some senators, APC senators called for the probe of the SURE-P policy of the immediate past ‎PDP government led by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Senator Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi West) also raised a point of Order, insisting that the Senate leader cannot speak when the notion raised by Olujimi was yet to be seconded.

But Lawan continued, “Mr. President, this chamber is not our chamber,  it belong to the people and we must be listened to.

“We have a country that inherited poverty,  we have a country where its resources was squandered completely in the last 16 years.

“Remember how funds allocated to Sure-P was stolen.   I want to convince everybody here that what we have here is not a matter that we should fight.

“I want to suggest that the minority leader should surrender the document where a non partisan Committee would investigate,  I so submit.”

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while insisting that the matter should not be debated further, ruled that a Committee be set in motion to investigate the allegations.

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