FG’s school feeding programme not a political gimmick – Mrs Maryam
May 31, 2018
The Federal Government’s National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) is not a political gimmick, Mrs Maryam Mele, Special Adviser to Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo on Social Investment Programme, has said.
Mele told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Thursday that the NHGSFP was a reality and a promise-kept which could be verified by anyone who wished to visit Gombe.
Mele is also the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Focal Person in charge of Gombe State.
According to her, 50 primary schools in the state have been engaged to ensure that the food vendors comply with the nutritional requirements as stipulated by the Federal Government.
“‘Those saying that the primary school food programme is a political propaganda should come to Gombe and see that it is not.
“The feeding programme is not part of politics but a promise-kept by the government of the day. This should be commended because it is one programme that the poor have benefited from.
“This I can tell you because I go round the schools every day of the week and what I see are happy pupils having sumptuous meals before the activities of learning, is that politics?
“I have visited over 50 primary schools in the state for supervision and I tell you the programme is ongoing.
“Any critic should come to Gombe and I will take them round to see.
‘“I am always on ground to monitor the food vendors as mandated by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, to ensure that there is total compliance with the nutritional requirements outlined for the pupils by government,” she said.
She commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Osinbajo for keeping to their campaign promise of touching the lives of the poor in all the primary schools in 11 Local Government Areas of the state.
Mele also commended Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo for supporting the Federal Government to ensure that the programme is fully entrenched and functional in the state.
Also speaking to NAN, Aisha Mohammed, a primary three pupil of Yelenguruza Primary School in Gombe town, praised the Federal Government for introducing the programme.
She told NAN that the feeding was daily and had helped to prevent many children from learning on empty stomach.
She appealed to the government to sustain the programme so that other pupils would benefit in the future.
NAN reports that the federal government in 2016 introduced the programme and has enrolled 8.2 million pupils in 24 states.
The HGSF programme is part of a 500 billion Naira funded Social Investment Programme announced by the Buhari administration to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable groups.
The programme aims to provide free school meals with food procured from local smallholder farmers seeks to strengthen communities across the country by increasing school enrolment and completion.
It also aims to improve child nutrition and health, strengthening local agricultural economies by providing a school feeding market in which farmers can sell their produce and create employment opportunities with jobs in catering, processing, farming, etc.