By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—PARENTS of public school students in Ondo State have decried the stoppage of the daily feeding by government under the National Home Grown School Feeding programme.
The stoppage of the free meal is coming few weeks after the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the state and ate with the students of a public school in Alagbaka area of the state.
It was gathered that the cooks engaged for the services stopped bringing food to the schools following huge debt incured by the government.
Some pupils, who spoke with Vanguard, confirmed that food vendors had stopped the free meal programme in the last two weeks.
The parents, under the auspices of Concerned Parents of Primary School Pupils described the programme as “a trick to deceive parents and primary school pupils in the state as the programme has failed to achieve its desired objectives within its first few weeks in the state.”
They alleged “that most of the cooks employed under the programme had stopped bringing food to schools.”
Speaking on behalf of the parents in Akure, Mr. Ademola Folarin, said: “Pupils had not been fed for the past two weeks the home grown school feeding program had not been consistent since it was launched in the state.
“We have been monitoring the implementation of this initiative for the past two weeks and we can confirm to you that this programme has been a failure in the state.
“Many of the cooks have stopped feeding the pupils claiming that they had not been receiving money to prepare the food. They claimed that they were only managing with little resources made available to them.
“The programme is a total failure in Ondo State and there is need to urgently review the programme while money should be made available for the programme to salvage the appalling situation.
“The state government also earmarked about N4.2billion in the 2018 budget as part of its counterpart fund to run the programme in the state.”
Teachers lament low quality
However, some teachers lamented the low quality of the food being served and called on the state government to involve officials of the education ministry for proper monitoring and supervision of the cooks.
Speaking with Vanguard in confidence they said: “The food vendors have been threatening to quit the programme unless the federal government intervened and addressed the noticeable lapses especially in the area of finance.”
There was delay in payment—Ondo govt
Reacting to the development, the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi confirmed that there was delay in the payment of the money of the cooks but assured that “all the accounts would be harmonised by next week and the payment would be made to ensure the success of the scheme.”