The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs , Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk on Thursday disclosed that over nine million pupils across the country have been benefitting from the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
Sadiya Farouk disclosed this at Saint Luke model nursery and primary school Adankolo , Lokoja during the Flagg off of distribution of feeding utensils for beneficiaries of the programme in Kogi State.
According to her, the programme which was designed to address poverty in all its forms had so far succeeded in benefitting over nine millions pupils across the country , saying over 100,000 women were empowered to cook under the programme.
“This programme at its core is designed to address poverty in all its forms and is a collaboration between the federal and state government where the federal government is responsible for release of funds, guidelines, policies, and monitoring, while the state carries out the day-to-day implementation including procurement of food items, selection of cooks and vendors who prepare, cook and serve the meals to ensure the pupils” she said .
The Minister who was represented at the occasion by a deputy director in the ministry Mallam Sule Aliyu Chogudo, stated that an operational review is underway, which will be supported by experts and technical partners to ensure that the programme succeed in its objectives such as women empowerment , supporting the education of the girl child, creating employment, and improving intergovernmental collaboration.
While appealing to the handlers of the feeding utensils to put the items into proper use for the benefits of the children, the Minister said the ministry have deployed an extensive, layered and technology-supported monitoring system that will give the ministry real time information of how the programme is being implemented and the areas that need urgent intervention and correction.
The Secretary to Kogi State Government Dr Folashade Ayo-Arike who Flagg off the distribution of the utensils on behalf of the Governor Yahaya Bello, said that before now children of the masses are not involved in what happened at the national level , noting that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through the school feeding programme has brought dividend of democracy to the children and their parents.
She vehemently warned the cooks not to convert the feeding utensils into their personal use, stressing that whoever caught indulging in such attitude will not only be sanction he or she will be prosecuted.
Earlier, the Kogi State Focal Person of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Abdulkareem Suleiman Onyekehi said the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme which was aimed at delivering school feeding to public primary school pupils has achieved its objectives as school enrolment in Kogi State has increased tremendously while malnutrition reduced drastically.
While commending the Minister for the distribution of the feeding utensils, the Focal Person commended Governor Bello for his unalloyed support for the programme, saying ”We are grateful to our amiable and pragmatic Governor for taking the lead as far as the NSIP is concerned in Kogi State” Onyekehi said.