- The Nigerian government has explained why it will continue feeding school children despite the fact that schools are closed
- The minister of humanitarian affairs said the government is continuing the programme because of its determination to cushion the hardship of vulnerable kids
- The minister insisted that hunger, a serious by-product of the pandemic crisis influenced the government's decision
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The federal government has finally opened up on its decision to go ahead with its Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) even when schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vanguard reports.
Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, explained that the government is going ahead with the feeding of school children because of its commitment and determination to cushion the hardship vulnerable kids were facing at home following the lockdown.
The minister who disclosed this at the official launch of the scheme in Abuja, at Kuje Central Primary School, said hunger as a by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitated the government’s decision.
She said: “Hunger is a serious by-product of this pandemic crisis, which is why from the onset the ministry has been evolving strategies to facilitate humanitarian interventions.”
Mrs Farouq said the school feeding programme is funded by the federal government but implemented by each state, adding that the request is based on President Buhari's directive to her ministry.
She said: “The commencement of the school feeding programme today is based on Mr President’s directive to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to liaise with State governments to develop strategies on the continuation of the school feeding programme.
“The Ministry in consultation and collaboration with State governments identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring several options.
“This is a globally accepted means of supporting children to continue to have access to nutrient-rich foods despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding."
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government has denied that it has earmarked N490 million daily on feeding school children during the lockdown.
The clarification was made on behalf of the government by the federal ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development.
The ministry coordinates all humanitarian affairs in Nigeria including the school feeding programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. A media report had recently stated that the initiative will cost the government N490 million daily.
In a related development, the federal government has said the homegrown school feeding programme will kick off on Thursday, May 14. Though schools are not open yet due to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government said it will provide food for beneficiaries of the school feeding programme while they stay at home.
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