The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the Take-Home Ration kits for no fewer than 29,000 pupils in the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) in the Federal Capital Territory.
Speaking during the inauguration, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the programme was one of the social interventions by the Federal Government, especially as the country battles COVID-19.
According to the minister, the programme is funded by the Federal Government but being implemented by state governments.
“I am here to flag off the commencement of the modified programme in the FCT and to conduct a spot check of the operations.
“Hunger is a serious by-product of the pandemic, which is why from the onset the ministry has been evolving strategies to facilitate humanitarian interventions.
“The commencement of the NHGSFP today is based on Mr President’s directive to the Ministry to liaise with State governments to develop strategies on the continuation of the School Feeding Programme even though the pupils are at home.
” Beginning today in the FCT, this programme will target parents and guardians of pupils in primary one to three in public schools participating in the programme.
“A total of 3.1 million households are targeted for this intervention; Lagos and Ogun are next port of call before the programme moves to other states of the Federation.
“As noted we are working with the World Food Programme (WFP), who are providing technical support, while other government agencies have been invited to provide an extra layer of monitoring,” Farouq said.
Also speaking, the State Minister for FCT, Hajiya Ramatu Aliyu said the essence of the modified programme was to ensure that with the lockdown, pupils do not look malnourished before the resumption of schools.
liyu was represented at the event by her Special Assistant on Social Investment Programme, Mrs Chiwendu Etiaba.
Also speaking, the Country Director of WFP, Mr Paul Howe said COVID-19 was a set back for the eradication of hunger in the Nigeria and the world in general.
“However, I hope that our partnership with the ministry and other coalition would attain a tremendous level of achievement to reduce hunger in the country.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Mr Abdullahi Sabo said the modified programme was coming at the time of hunger occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, the initiative will boost the health of the children as they are still at home and also improve school enrollment.
“On our own part, we are liaising with the FCT Administration to provide structure and welfare for teachers,” Sabo said.
Parents of pupils brought QR Coded, serialised, date and stamped vouchers with which they collected the Take-Home Ration kits.
Items contained in each of the Take-Home Ration Kits include 5kg bag of rice, 5kg bag of beans, 500ml vegetable oil, 750ml of palm oil, 500mg of salt, 15 pieces of eggs and 140mg of Tomato paste.
Over 29, 000 pupils cutting across all the six area councils of the FCT would benefit from the modified programme.
Dr Ubolo Okpanachi, member of Code of Conduct Bureau was present to monitor the processes as laid down by the Federal Government.
Others present at the inauguration were officials from Federal Ministry of Finance, National Assembly and the Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Tanko.