400,000 pupils to benefit in 23 LGAs of Benue in the FGs’ School Feeding Programme
By Bridget Ikyado
The National Homegrown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) of the federal government was yesterday flagged off in Makurdi, the Benue State capital with over 400,000 pupils identified to benefit from the programme.
The programme was created to address hunger and malnutrition among Nigerian children, enhance school enrollment and increase agricultural production and economic growth.
Declaring open the training exercise for Master Cooks drawn from the 23 local government areas to mark the take off of the programme, Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hon. Aondowase Kunde said, over 400,000 pupils are to benefit from the programme in the state while over 6, 512 women have been carefully selected to ensure a seamless implementation of the NHGSFP in line with standard best practices.
“I believe that the gains of this exercise will ensure the delivery of safe and healthy meals for the over 400,000 pupils benefitting from the programme in Benue State and also ensure a healthy and safe hygienic environment for our children.
“I want to charge the cooks who will be trained today to pay rapt attention to the training sessions knowing that they will be required to cascade the training to over 6,512 women of their colleagues and thus ensuring a seamless implementation of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme in line with standard best practices”.
The Commissioner said that the Ministry remains focused on strengthening the Social Investment Programme (SIP) structure for maximum impact for the good of people of the state, adding that Governor Alia has “directed that the recruitment of cooks for the NHGSFP be done locally, in the council wards so that the common woman will have an opportunity to be part of the programme”.
He disclosed that the Alia’s administration “conducted a review and evaluation of the NHGSFP and as part of measures to re-organize the programme, all cooks who served between 2017 and 2023 have been disengaged. This measure is to give other citizens the opportunity to benefit from the programme as the SIPs are designed to be spread to all Nigerians, particularly the poor and vulnerable within a specified duration of time”.
He admonished the would-be-cooks to see the opportunities offered them by the programme as a platform to contribute to nation building in their local communities, stressing that any cook found wanting will be shown the way out and penalized in accordance with the extant laws.
In a remark, the State Facilitator of the programme, Mrs. Joy A. Ijuwo, explained that the programme will be carried out using the Train the Trainer Model (TOT) where cooks were selected, one per local government area as master cooks to in turn, step down the training in their various local government area to other cooks.
Also speaking, the State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Austin Agada, lauded the developmental policies of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, stressing that the programme is a way of improving the lives of the down trodden Nigerian children in the country.
Agada said that the party will monitor the programme closely to ensure it succeeds, and commended Governor Alia for his concern for the plight of the less privileged.