Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has distributed cooking utensils worth millions of naira to cooks under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) in Enugu State.
Handing over the cooking utensils to the Enugu State Government on Wednesday, Farouq, who was represented by Mr Silas Wuyah, said that the items and meeting with the state government was meant to strengthen the programme’s implementation.
According to the minister, the NHGSFP programme, one of the four major social intervention programmes of the Federal Government, provides one free meal to over nine million pupils in primary schools across the nation.
She said: “In Enugu State, we are providing funds to the state selected vendors to feed 197,140 pupils, through 3,005 cooks in 1,030 schools.
“In the school feeding value chain, hundreds of jobs are created and people are earning much needed income. We have directives from Mr President to add five million more pupils into the school feeding programme.
“Your Excellency, we at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development are fully committed to the great cause of Mr. President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty”.
The minister, however, requested that the state government should provide administrative funds for monitoring and other functions; adding that the “state government by design was to provide funds for feeding primary 4 – 6”.
She also asked for support in sensitisation through various structures on the importance of the programme and the need for it to be protected from corrupt practices by those entrusted to prepare the meals, supply food items and even coordinate the activities.
Earlier, the Focal Person for the programme in Enugu State, Dr Innocent Ogbonna, said that the state government was passionate about the school feeding programme and ensured that the children were fed every day of the school calendar.
Ogbonna also lauded the Federal Government for sustaining the programme in the state since 2017; adding that it had made tremendous positive impact by increasing enrollment, retention to learning and health of the pupils among others.
“As a state, we are assuring the Federal Government and the ministry of our total commitment to the success of the programme.
“We are grateful to be among the few states that have benefited from the cooking utensils provided free-of-charge to our cooks by the ministry, to better the programme in terms of hygiene and standardisation,” he said.
The state’s Commissioner for Education, Prof Uchenna Eze, thanked the Federal Government for sustaining the programme which, he described as laudable and an enhancer of all aspects of primary education in the state.
Eze, represented by the state’s Manager for School Feeding Programme, Mr Ifeanyi Onah, appreciated the Federal Government and the ministry for the cooking utensils and other items meant to give the programme a boost in the state.
“We are assuring the ministry that the items would be judiciously used and well-protected to serve its purpose for a long time,” he said.
The representative of the cooks, Mrs Ndidi Ugwu, thanked the Federal and state governments as well as the ministry for the cooking utensils, while promising that they would be used primarily for what it was intended for.
Ugwu said: “We are grateful for the new cooking utensils as well as the training that will commence on April 28 for all cooks under the programme