School Feeding: FG begins verification of 196,873 pupils in Nasarawa

The Federal Government has began verification exercise for 196, 873 pupils in public schools in Nasarawa state under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development made this known during a courtesy call paid on Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state in Lafia on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NHGSFP was designed as a multi-faceted intervention by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to drive school enrollment and retention, boost nutrition of the pupils, support local production of food and encourage income generation.

Specifically, it is aimed at the provision of one nutritious meal to all pupils in public primary schools in classes one to three.

Farouq represented by Mr Abdullahi Usman, Technical Adviser to the Minister said the exercise is aimed at having more data of the pupils benefiting from the programme and doing a physical verification of the pupils across Nasarawa state.

“We are here on a verification exercise. We have been feeding pupils since 2016 but the data we have been dealing with is actually names of pupils sent by all the states.

“So this exercise will allow us go into the school, put faces and identities to these children by taking their details, their pictures and biometrics.

”The idea of the exercise is to prove that those we are feeding are actually human beings,” she said.

She added that the NHGSFP as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, is to scale up the number of the pupils benefiting from the programme so as to bring more pupils under the umbrella of the government’s social protection mechanism.

“Over nine million pupils benefit from one free nutritious meal a day during school term nationwide, and now we have the mandate to reach an additional five million pupils by 2023.

“Talking specifically about Nasarawa sir, as we speak today, we have 196,873 pupils that are being fed in a total of 1,203 schools,” she said.

She admitted that with over 100, 000 cooks employed and more than 100, 000 small holder participating in the value chain, the NHGSFP had become a serious potential for sicio-economic development and needs to be strengthened, scaled up and sustained nationwide.

“In Nasarawa in particular, we have 2,801 cooks. I am therefore, pleased that the Nasarawa state and the federal NHGSFP teams as well as key stakeholders are working jointly and closely to verify the existing numbers of beneficiaries on the program and update the records for better effectiveness, transparency and accountability,” she added.

Responding, Gov. Sule expressed gratitude to President Buhari for introducing the NHGSFP intervention aimed at assisting the poor through the provision of one nutritious meal to pupils in public primary schools across the country.

“And I know that Mr President will be the happiest if the target people who are expected to benefit from it are benefiting from it without anyone hijacking it along the way.

“As long as it goes all the way to the targetted people who are really in need of this assistance, I think all of us will be happier,” he said.

He then assured of his administration’s support and commitment to ensure the intervention succeeds in the state. (NAN)

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