…As LASG set to flag off school feeding programme
By Evelyn Usman
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbanjo, has appealed to Nigerians to show love and compassion to the poor and needy within their respective communities, with a view to giving them a sense of belonging.
Mrs Osinbanjo who made the appeal during the launch of Morpepe, a Project 250k initiative aimed at feeding children in the Internally Displaced Persons camps across the country, in Victoria Island, Lagos, emphasized that such gesture should be centered on homeless and children of indigent parents.
Lamenting the state of some children whom she said were daily seen under bridges in Lagos and other states of the federation , Osinbanjo, said some of them who managed to go to school were usually seen in torn clothes and socks.
In a bid to provide basic education to the poor and disadvantaged segment of the society , she disclosed that the Federal Government through its School Feeding Programme, was feeding over 9 million children daily, across the country.
She therefore, lauded the effort of convener of Morpepe, for conceiving such initiative through which children in IDP camps would be fed.
Calling on other Nigerians to support the initiative, she said, “ I want to make an appeal not only on behalf of Morpepe but on behalf of every Nigerian child. I think if only you could see their hungry faces , if only you could see some of these young ones being held up by pains, if only you knew their thoughts, perhaps ,you will be willing to share what you can with them.
“ In 2012, under the bridge by Law school, I met a young man who people commonly refer to as area boy. There was a lady who every other year, had a baby boy for him. By the time I lost track with her ,she had three boys and this young man who had no home, no job and lived under the bridge. Then I wondered what life was there for these young boys that had been born into this family.
“My appeal is not just for us to support the Morpepe foundation for what she is doing right, by touching the need of others. It is perhaps to encourage us to find someone in need and help and touch their lives. Sometimes. When you see some school children, their uniforms are held with pins because their parents can not afford money to sew them. Some of their socks have holes.
“ On my part, we have been visiting schools to talk to children and render the little we can. We did not just start yesterday but 15 years ago”
In his remark, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed that plans had been concluded to launch the Federal Government school feeding programme in Lagos State.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo, described the Morpepe initiative as a means of nourishing children and also reducing out of school children.
The initiative according to the governor, “ will also build the agric sector because somebody has to plant those tomatoes and peper. It also has economic advantages as well. And again , it will boost employment because somebody has to package the food and somebody has to take it to school..
“It is in line with this administration’s inclusivity that I am happy to say that we in Lagos are set to role out the Federal Government’s home based food feeding programme soon. So that every child in Lagos eats whole meal a day”.
Convener of Morpepe, Lady Labisi Shofolayan, explained that Morpepe , a packaged mixture of blended pepper, tomatoes and onions was for sale. The concept she said, was borne out of the need to make pepper ready for cooperate and busy Nigerians, who can not dash to the market at will.
She said, “ Morpepe is for sale. The whole idea is to make life easier for the carrier men and women, so that they don’t have to slave to cook or feed their families . What they do is, buy Morpepe in stores and we do the delivery.
“For every carton of more pepper that is being purchased . We are able to feed two children . So, the more cartons we are able to sell, the more children we are able to feed. The whole idea is to be able to take on more schools and be able to send cartons of more pepper to IDP amps.
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Right now we understand that in each of the IDPs, we have over 6000 children, excluding adults. We have different IDP camps in Lagos, Benue but we itemized about 14 of them in Lagos and northern part of the country , to assist with feeding.
“ The primary goal is to be able to feed these children. We just don’t want to be asking people for money or be asking for grants. We asked what could we do to be able to sustain this feeding programme we are doing for our children and the idea of more pepper came”.