By David Odama
To authenticate the actual number of pupils benefiting from the School Feeding Programme of the Federal Government, a verification exercise has started in Nasarawa State. During the exercise, a total of 196, 873 pupils in public schools in the state are to be verified.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, disclosed this in Lafia, during a courtesy call on Governor Abdullahi Sule at the Government House, Lafia.
Represented by Mallam Abdullahi Usman, Technical Adviser to the Minister, the minister stated that the exercise was aimed at obtaining more data of the benefiting pupils in order to know the actual number of pupils across Nasarawa State.
She explained that the NHGSFP programme was a multi-faceted intervention of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to drive school enrolment, retention, boost nutrition of the pupils, support local production of food and boost income generation.
“We are here in Nasarawa State on a verification exercise. We have been feeding pupils since 2016, but the data we have been dealing with is actually names of pupils sent by all the states. So this exercise will allow us to go into schools, identify these children by taking their details, their pictures and biometrics,” the minister said.
She said the idea of the exercise was to prove that those being fed are actually human beings, adding that it was aimed at providing one nutritious meal to all pupils in public primary schools in classes 1 to 3.
Hajiya Farouk added that apart from the exercise, the NHGSFP as directed by Buhari, plans to scale up the number of pupils benefiting from the programme, so as to bring more pupils under the umbrella of government’s social protection mechanism.
“Over nine million pupils benefit from one free nutritious meal a day during school term nationwide, and now we have the mandate to reach an additional five million pupils by 2023.
“Specifically, about Nasarawa, we have a total of 196,873 pupils that are being fed in 1,203 schools,”
In his response, Governor Sule expressed gratitude to President Buhari for introducing the NHGSFP Intervention targeted at assisting the poor through the provision of one nutritious meal to pupils in public primary schools across the country.
Sule said Nigerians were aware that the President would be happy if the targeted people are the real and actual beneficiaries without anyone hijacking the programme.
“As long as the targeted people who are really in need of this assistance benefit from the scheme, I think all of us will be happier,” Sule declared.
The governor who assured of his administration’s support and commitment to ensure that the intervention succeeds in the state, called for proper monitoring and supervision on the part of the focal persons in the state.
Recall that the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP was launched by the Federal Government to cater for children in public schools across the country.