Nigeria’s school feeding programme to benefit 20 million children

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Twenty million Nigerian children are to benefit from the home grown school feeding scheme of the Nigerian government.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo revealed this, at the opening of a stakeholders’ forum on the National School Feeding Programme.

He said the programme would help enhance primary school enrolment and improve the health of pupils.

The Acting President said the home-grown school feeding programme is the largest, single and dedicated programme that takes a chunk of the 2016 budget.

“The social investment programme is the largest and dedicated provision for social investment in Nigeria’s economic history. Of the six trillion naira 2016 budget, N500 billion is devoted to our social investment programmes, thus bringing real change to the lives of 20 million children,” he said.

Benefits

Professor Osinbajo, who enumerated the main objectives of the programme, stated that the programme would help get people out of poverty.

“The Home Grown School Feeding Programme has four main benefits; one, it will improve school enrolment and curb the current dropout rates from primary schools, which is estimated to be 30 percent and thereby also reduce child labour, two, it will improve child nutrition and health learning, it will also increase local agricultural production and finally it will create jobs that will lift families over the poverty line and into a brighter future,” Professor Osinbajo noted.

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He further said States and Local Governments should key into the programme, as their cooperation would help a lot in achieving the objectives of the programme.

In his remark, Osun state Governor, Abdul’rauf Aregbesola, whose state has been practicing the programme for some years now, said it has improved school enrolment and nutrition in children.

Best Policy

Speaking to Voice of Nigeria, Oyo Abiola Ajimobi described the programme as the best policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“The programme is so multi dimensional. It has a lengthy value change addition. It affect your feeding and it health. It is a very laudable programme, if nothing else; it is the best programme we can have in this country. Oyo state is going to effectively commence the school feeding programme next academic session,” he pledged.

Also speaking, Kaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said the state introduced the programme in January and it has since increased enrolment and generated employment for many.

The event also featured the public presentation of a book titled “Global School Feeding Source Book: lessons from 14 countries,” which showcased Nigeria as a model for the implementation of the school feeding programme.

 

Nnenna.O