Children, Teachers Lament As FG's School Feeding Programme Suffers Setback

Children, Teachers Lament As FG's School Feeding Programme Suffers Setback

  • Teachers and children have complained about the epileptic operation of vendors on the school feeding programme
  • The teachers said the vendors on the programme are yet to resume operation since the beginning of a new term in 2022
  • However, the vendors have also lamented the inability of the federal government to fulfil their part of the initiative by making funds available for the smooth operation of the programme

The effort to keep children in school through the federal government's school feeding programme seems to be having a hard time with vendors failing to show up in the different schools.

The Punch reports that schools across states like Benue, Akwa Ibom, Egun, Kano, Cross Rivers, Bauchi and Ogun were experiencing downtime with the programme as vendors have failed to turn up because of non-payment of their funds.

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It was gathered that the vendors have completely stopped providing food for the schools even though their operations were never consistent in the first place.

School children
The pupils in Benue said they were only fed three times in 2021 Photo: Sadiya Umar Farouq
Source: Facebook

In Makurdi, the Benue state's capital city, teachers and pupils said the operation of the school feeding vendors became epileptic with some children getting food while others would not get anything.

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They also said that since the school resumed its second term in January, the programme vendors are yet to resume.

According to Terry Orduen, a pupil in LGEA Primary School, Idemekpe, Makurdi, the vendors only served the children food for only three days throughout the year 2021.

Orduen said:

“Since the inception of this second term we have yet to see the cooks in our school. In 2021, we were fed for three days."

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School feeding faces a challenge in Kano state

In another instance, a staff of the Kano state Universal Basic Education Board said while the programme is still ongoing, implementation and monitoring to ensure effectiveness has been a major challenge.

The UBEC staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the vendors bring food that is usually inadequate for the number of children to be fed.

The staff said:

“For example, the cooks hardly bring enough food. The food is always inadequate to serve the number of pupils in the school.
“The food is always inadequate and when you ask the cooks they will not give you a satisfactory answer as to where the problem is."

The same condition was discovered to be the problem in Ogun, Enugu, Cross River and many other states.

Vendors are yet to be paid their funds

In their defence, the vendors said that they are yet to receive money from the federal government for the programme.

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One of the vendors who simply identified himself as Agbo said the last time, they were paid was in September 2021.

He said they have been following up with the FG on why they are yet to be paid and the reason for the contractors failing to supply them with items needed for the job.

He added that they were also made to undergo some re-evaluation process while they are still waiting for their money.

The vendor said:

“They have made us undergo revalidation and we have completed the process, and what we are waiting for is the release of funds so that we can start feeding the children.”

Speaking on the matter, the Benue state, focal person for the programme, Damsa Terries, debunked the claim that vendors were being owed money.

Terries also said that the FG gives money first before the cooks make food available in schools.

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He said:

“You don’t cook when money has not been given. It is when you get alert in your account that you know the number of pupil’s you are going to feed.”

School feeding programme: FG targets 14 million students by 2023

Earlier, reported that the federal government, on Monday, July 5, disclosed that it is targeting to feed 14 million school children under NHGSFP by 2023.

The minister of humanitarian Affairs, disaster management and social development stated this in Abeokuta, the Ogun state.

According to the report, the minister was represented at the event by a director in the ministry, Abdulrahman Babatunde Jaji.

FG's feeding programme: DSS arrests teachers, desk officers, food vendors for diverting items

The Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) operatives arrested many teachers and desk officers in charge of the federal government Home Grown School Feeding programme for allegedly sabotaging the programme.

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At least 10 were also apprehended for allegedly conniving with the teachers and the desk officers to shortchange the process.

The operatives made arrests majorly from a primary school in Minna, while others were nabbed in the Katcha local government area and Gwada in the Shiroro LGA of Niger state.


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