The senate was thrown into a rowdy session on Wednesday over a claim by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Biodun Olujimi who alleged that the federal government is using the funds of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) to secure permanent voter cards ahead of the 2019 elections.
Olujimi, minority leader of the senate, said ‘I Stand With Buhari’ is written on the forms given to recipients of the SIP funds.
“Right now the funds are being used for political reasons and they are being dispensed and given freely to people who can bring up their PVCs and signed several copies. The issuants are now in charge.
“One of the forms is here is here with me and it is being disbursed by the special intervention body.
“This one has ‘I Stand With Buhari’ and it has a place where your PVC will be written with your gender and an attachment from access bank are money will be dispensed to. There is no corruption greater than people using our collective funds to maintain a political party.
“There is a need for the committee to be set up to look into this issue. There has to be a high powered ad hoc committee that must look into this. It is an election year and people are using these funds that are not the best to buy PVCs and put them to use on election day,” she said.
After Olujimi finished speaking, Senate President Bukola Saraki asked Ahmed Lawan, senate leader, to comment but Adeola Olamilekan, an All Progressives Congress (APC) senator, interjected.
He began speaking at the top his voice in protest of the allegation, resulting in a rowdy chamber.
After a few minutes, Saraki said: “This drama that is going on is on unnecessary. Minority leader has spoken, let majority leader have the floor, let him speak.”
Once the rowdiness subsided, Saraki urged Lawan to speak, but Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, raised a point of order.
He said the motion needed to be seconded before Lawan could speak.
When Lawan finally got an opportunity to speak, he said the SIP programme of the federal government is transparent.
“I have listened attentively to the motion raised by the senate minority leader. Let me say from the onset that SIP of this administration is computer-based, very transparent.
“That is why for the first time in the history of Nigeria, we have a fool-proof system that anywhere you may be in Nigeria, you will apply online.”
The senate leader said the SURE-P programme of the past administration was not transparent.
Thereafter, the senate resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to probe Olujimi’s allegation.