The federal government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has deployed a task force to Ebonyi and Enugu states to unravel and tackle some of the fallouts from the school feeding program.
This is geared towards strengthening and institutionalizing the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme introduced under the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday, the Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq said that the verification and enrolment drive across the country is targeted at not just the schools or benefiting pupils but also at vendors and cooks to ensure an efficient operation and provision of balanced meals for children.
As schools prepare for the new academic session, the Minister said,
“We have embarked on an enumeration exercise with a view to verifying the existing data of the benefitting pupils on the program as provided by each benefiting state, update our database with accurate data and ultimately scale up the program to reach more beneficiaries across the Nation.”
To ensure an all round efficiency, the Ministry has continued to partner with all relevant agencies and parastatals to ensure adequate sensitisation, data capturing and execution.
“We have therefore devised this as a multi sectoral intervention with partners such as the the State National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) officers, National Orientation Agency, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Population Commission of Nigeria, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Universal Basic Education across the states”, Umar Farouq said.
The Minister, through the Ebonyi State Coordinator, Sunday Mbam revealed that 95m Naira was spent in the year under review with 64,301 pupils as beneficiaries.
Mbam expressed optimism that the exercise will totally tackle and address the challenges confronting the programme in the state as well as open a vista to accommodate more schools.
Elsewhere in Enugu state, the Minister represented by the Team Lead of the State Monitoring and Enumeration of the programme, Ms Adanne Wadibia-Anyanwu said that government has engaged 1,532 cooks who supply the daily meals to public primary schools within Enugu State.
During the enumeration and monitoring exercise at Igbariam Primary School in Achara Layout, Enugu, Ms Wadibia-Anyanwu said that the federal government spends about N7,998,270 daily in feeding of a total of 114,261 pupils in public primary schools within the State.
She stated that the programme had impacted junior primary pupils in 799 public schools within the 17 council areas.
”We are here to get more details on the ongoing programme. We are doing enumeration and biometric data capturing of the pupils enrolled under the programme, getting feedbacks from cooks and head-teachers within the programme.
”We want to keep up-to-date record of the programme and make it more responsive as well as meet the beneficiaries to get real-time feedback from them as well”.
Despite an increased record of enrollment figures in public schools plans are in top gear to enrol an additional 5 million pupils into its National Home Grown School Feeding Programme by 2023.