By Demola Akinyemi – Ilorin

Federal  Government yesterday chided Kwara and Bayelsa states among other states of the federation, over non-implementation of its National Home Grown School Programme in their respective states.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya U Farouk said this in Ilorin, Kwara state capital during a courtesy visit to the state Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi.

In his response, the Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi who represented  the governor urged the Federal Governemnt to be patience with the state, agreeing that the advantages inherent in the programme are phenomenal.

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He said that the programme would increase enrolment of pupils in schools, boost the economy of the state and generate employment.

The minister,Hajia Farouk had hinged the state’s delay in the enrolment on initial non compliance with the programme’s guidelines and Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister said that “with the relaxation of lockdown caused by COVID-19 and resumption of schools, the state will soon be there.”

Represented by Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National and Social Investment Programme Dr Nasir Mahmud, the minister said that the state recently expressed its preparedness to come on board the programme.

Hajia Farouk said that based on the data available from the state no fewer than 96,000 pupils in public schools from primary one to three would benefit from the programme, adding that over 1500 schools would also be enrolled.

She added that primary one to three pupils are the targets of the school feeding programme in the country.

Said she: “Recently, the state communicated to the ministry that it is ready and we are here to assess the status of the preparedness and if there is any support we need to give, the ministry will give it to make the state come on board.

“So far, we are very happy with what we saw. We just debriefed the state Deputy Governor about our findings. There are very few gaps here and there and we believe together with the national and state governments will soon address them to make sure they state begins the programme. In a matter of weeks I am confident that the programme will commence in the state.”

She said the programme had steadied enrolment of pupils in public schools in the federation.

“We have seen tremendous improvement in schools enrolment in the country. The other objective of the programme is to make sure students stay in schools resulting in learning improvement,” the minister added.

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