The Federal Government on Thursday flagged-off the modified Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, adding that Lagos and Ogun States would be the next port of call.
President Mohammadu Buhari had on March 30th ordered the closure of schools and other business centres to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, while performing the ceremony, said the Federal Government would continue working with state governments to ensure that the programme benefits over 3.1 million households in line with the administration’s policy.
She explained that the programme is being funded by the Federal Government but maintained that the onus of ensuring its successful implementation lies with the state governments.
“Hunger is a serious by-product of this pandemic crisis, which is why from the onset the Ministry has been evolving strategies to facilitate humanitarian interventions,” the minister stated at the inauguration.
“The commencement of the school feeding programme today is based on Mr President’s directive to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to liaise with state governments to develop strategies on the continuation of the school feeding programme.
“The Ministry in consultation and collaboration with state governments identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring several options.
“This is a globally accepted means of supporting children to continue to have access to nutrient-rich foods despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding. Beginning today in Abuja, this programme will target parents and guardians of children in primary 1 to 3 in public schools participating in the programme.”
She added that “a total of 3.1 million households are targeted for this intervention. Lagos and Ogun states are next ports of call before the programme moves to other states of the federation. As noted earlier we are working with the World Food Programme who are providing technical support while other agencies of government have been invited to provide an extra layer of monitoring.
“They include the Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ICPC, the Code of Conduct Bureau and a host of NGOs and CSOs. The Ministry is using the opportunity of this modified program to collect and verify data with the support of CSOs and NGOs such as ActionAid, BudgIT, Tracka, and CMDA. We are thankful for the support of NGOs including Wimbiz, Waterlight initiative, AU ECOSOC, Orphans and Women Support Initiative, Youth Fighters for COVID-19, Nigerian Red Cross, Coalition of NGOs and CSOs against covid-19, Africa global empowerment and development network and a host others supporting the Ministry.
“We are working hard with our partners to mitigate the challenge posed by hunger especially during this trying period. Please be assured that we are focused, determined and committed to cushioning the effects for Nigerians.”