By Ugwu Donald
The Federal Government has released N3.77 billion for the feeding of 1,287,270 school children in nine states under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President, Mr Laolu Akande, said on Sunday in Abuja the money was spent in Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta and Abia states.
The states received various sums in tranches, he said.
He also said that 14,574 cooks were engaged in the communities where the schools were located.
According to Akande, the money is paid directly from the Federal government’s coffers to the cooks, with a slight variation in Osun State where some of the food items, such as eggs, were bought centrally by an aggregator.
He added that the federal government intended to feed no fewer than three million pupils in 2017 under the feeding Programme, an aspect of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the Buhari presidency.
The National Homegrown School Feeding scheme kicked off in December 2016 with the feeding of primary school pupils in Anambra State.
The Special Assistant on Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Dotun Adebayo, said primary school pupils in Anambra were excited as the feeding started in their schools.
Adebayo who led a team of federal and state officials to some of the schools said they witnessed the feeding 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 stated, adding that the cooks in those three schools, among the total 774 already recruited and trained for the feeding programme, served ‘okpa’ a.k.a moin-moin garnished with vegetables to the delight of the pupils who took the meals during their break time about noonday.
All together in Anambra State, an estimated 76, 690 pupils in 1050 schools would be served every day at school.
The feeding programme caters to pupils from primary 1 to 3.
Aside from encouraging school pupils to embrace education, the programme is in line with the United Nations’ steps to boost nutrition in children.
It was also a campaign promise of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). (NAN)