FG Spends N53m, Targets 3.4m Across 17LGAs
As part of its Social Investment Programmes the Federal Government began implementation of its National Homegrown School Feeding scheme from Anambra State with the feeding of 76,690 pupils in 1,050 primary schools across the State on Thursday.
A statement by the Office of the Vice President said the programme covers pupils from primary one to three who would be served every school day till the end of current term.
Besides Anambra, according to statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Vice President, there are 16 states listed to benefit in the first tranche of the project. They are: Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Delta, Abia and Bauchi.
An estimated over 3.4 million pupils are expected to benefit from the programme in 15 of the states, as part of which the Federal Government has successfully conducted food safety and hygiene training for over 25,000 cooks in nine of the states.
“It is the plan of the Buhari administration to implement the feeding programme all across the country, where states meet the federal requirements for such engagement.
“Under the school feeding programme, there are no pre-selections, but states/FCT have to meet the stipulated requirements, Akande explained.
Anambra, the statement added, met the requirements for the Federal Government funding, following which a total of N53.687 million has been released directly to cooks.
Speaking in Awka, the state capital, Special Assistant on Homegrown School Feeding Programme to the Vice President, Dotun Adebayo, who led a team of federal and state officials to some of the schools, said the pupils were excited.
Adebayo said his delegation witnessed as the delighted kids ate ‘Okpa,’ also known as ‘moin-moin’ garnished with vegetables, during their break at noonday in three schools in Awka: Community Primary School, Awka South, Central School Ameobi, and Central School in Nibo.
“The pupils were excited and enjoyed the meals,” he noted, adding that the cooks in those three schools were among the total 774 already recruited and trained for the feeding programme in the state.
All the cooks were recruited from communities around the primary schools for the project, verified and trained to provide the catering service in the 21 LGAs in the State.
The programme, one of the Social Investment plans of the Buhari presidency, Akande added, is driven through community participation where residents in the community are engaged as cooks to provide feeding services. Also the programme leverages on the agricultural produce available within the communities.”
The programme is not only expected to boost school enrollment and improve the nutritional status of the pupils, it would also stimulate local farming, while creating employment.
Last month, the N-Power scheme kicked off with the selection of the first batch of 200,000 unemployed graduates, many of whom are now being deployed in the 36 states/FCT in the first batch of the planned half a million graduates to be engaged in the N-Power Volunteer Corps, NPVC.
The statement said no one should pay to benefit in the N-Power or the Homegrown School Feeding programmes, lamenting reports reaching the Presidency about Such acts of extortion in some states where beneficiaries are being asked to pay a ‘fee for registration’ have reached the Presidency.
Firm instructions have been given, he the statement added,that such acts should stop.