The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, recently demanded the closure of the TraderMoni, a micro-credit scheme of President Muhammed Buhari’s Social Investment Programme. In response to this, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, said any attack on the scheme is an attack on honest hardworking petty traders.
Mr. Akande on a statement on Friday described the action as “unfortunate and unbelievable”. In addition to this, he noted that such attack on the SIP was a direct affront on millions of beneficiaries from this programme. He said it is callous for anyone to accuse the Vice President of vote-buying through the micro-credit scheme.
“This was the false claim contained in a communiqué jointly signed by the leadership of a group called Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum recently.
“We do not think the Nigerian people are up for sale, nor can they be bought. Such suggestions are an insult to our collective identity.
“And calling for the suspension of a scheme that improves the businesses of ordinary, hard working Nigerians, like petty traders, is not only unfair but an attack on the common man.
“The Social Investment programme of the Buhari administration started in 2016, and the TraderMoni scheme is a part.
“So, it is false to even insinuate that the scheme was meant for advance vote buying when it was conceived two years ago.
“TraderMoni, which is part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme under the SIPs, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest -free loans from N 10, 000. The loans are repayable over a period of six months.”