Senate in rowdy session over call to probe Special Intervention Fund


The Senate, on Wednesday, had a rowdy session over a motion by the Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, for probe into alleged misuse of the Special Intervention Programme by the Presidency.
The minority leader had alleged that the fund was being used for political purpose and called on the Senate to set up an ad hoc committee to probe the allegation.
“Some forms are being disbursed by the Special Intervention Fund for political purposes.
“This one has ‘I stand with Buhari’ and it also has a place where your PVC and gender will be captured and an attachment from the Access Bank where money will be dispensed from.
“There is no corruption greater than people using our collective purse to maintain a political party.
The lawmaker further said ” it is an election year and people are using it for what is not the best, buying Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) and putting them to use during the election year.”
The argument, which lasted for about 25 minutes, ensued when some lawmakers protested against the motion before it was seconded.
Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, had taken to the floor to comment on the matter before seconding the motion but he was shouted down.
Subsequently, Dino Melaye (PDP-Kogi) and Bassey Akpan (PDP-Akwa Ibom) raised Order 43,49 and 55, to ensure proper procedure of seconding a motion before debate was followed.
This threw up another round of argument, which the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, however, quelled to enable Lawan his contribution.
Contributing, Lawan said while he was not against the senate investigating the allegation, the composition of the committee should be non-partisan.
He argued that the programme had impacted positively on a lot of Nigerians, who were hitherto impoverished.
He added that, “for the first time in the history of social intervention programmes by the Federal Government, we have a system that is working.
“If the minority leader will lay claim to the issue and we listened, I think it behooves on us to listen to others and that is maturity.
“The programme which has many facets has so far been the most successful social intervention programme in the history of Nigeria.”
He further said that the present government “inherited poverty that the PDP administration forced on Nigerians, we inherited empty treasury.
“They embezzled and squandered everything. Nigerians were impoverished and as such it became necessary to reposition the system under the office of the Vice President and he has so far shown complete transparency, accountability and probity.
“We were all here when SURE-P was instituted and all the money was stolen. I have no objection to investigate what she has raised but it must be non-partisan.It is not a matter that we need to fight over.
“It is an allegation and as far as I am concerned, nobody no matter how highly partisan the person wants to be, would be allowed to mess up this successful programme.
“We have never had a social programme that people who are not sympathisers of APC benefitted from.
“Many states that are PDP have benefitted much more than our states and that is to show that we are for Nigeria’s interest.
“What we are doing is to ensure that those who have been so impoverished by the previous PDP administration are revived.”
In the course of Lawan’s contribution, the lawmakers began to talk at random, throwing the chamber into another rowdy session.
It took another intervention by Saraki to restore normalcy.
Following the intervention, the lawmakers through voice votes, adopt two prayers.
They agreed to set up a non- partisan ad hoc committee to investigate the motion raised by Olujimi.
They also approved investigation into implementation of SURE-P programme, initiated by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In his remarks, Saraki urged the lawmkers to shun politics and always act in the interest of Nigerians, particularly on matters of national importance.
He added that whatever matter that required investigation should be investigated into, no matter who was involved.


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