By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
The Federal Government yesterday expressed worry about non-implementation of its National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in Kwara and Bayelsa states.
It said all other 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had enrolled into the programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk said this in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, when she visited Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi.
The minister hinged Kwara’s delay in enrolling into the programme on initial non-compliance with the programme’s guidelines and COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “With the relaxation of lockdown caused by COVID-19 and resumption of schools, the state will soon be there.”
Hajia Farouk, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on National and Social Investment Programme, Dr. Nasir Mahmud, said the state recently expressed its preparedness to come on board the programme.
The minister explained that based on the data available from the state, 96,000 pupils in public schools – from primary one to three – would benefit from the programme, while over 1,500 schools would also be enrolled.
She added that primary one to three pupils are the targets of the school feeding programme.
Hajia Farouk said: “Recently, the state communicated to the ministry that it was ready, and we are here to assess the status of the preparedness. If there is any support we need to give, the ministry will give it, to make the state come on board.
“So far, we are very happy with what we saw. We just debriefed the deputy governor about our findings. There are very few gaps here and there. In a matter of weeks, I am confident that the programme will commence in the state.”
The minister said the programme had steadied enrolment of pupils in public schools across the federation.
“We have seen tremendous improvement in schools enrolment in the country. The other objective of the programme is to make sure pupils stay in schools, resulting in learning improvement,” she said.
Alabi urged the Federal Government to be patient with the state, agreeing that the advantages inherent in the programme were phenomenal.
He said the programme would increase enrolment of pupils in schools, boost the economy of the state and generate employment.