By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Federal Government has commenced biometric data capture of 642,000 pupils of public schools in Borno for the ongoing scaling up of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Speaking on the enumeration exercise in Maiduguri on Thursday, the state Consultant for the exercise, Alhaji Mohammed Alfa, said the exercise which started last week has been going on smoothly.
“The only challenge we are having is that initially, we planned for 112,500 beneficiaries in Borno but the figure based on updated data rose to 642,500 and so far we have only 55 registration tablets and expecting 212 other tablets at any moment from now that would go round the 27 LGA.
“The good news I have for Borno is that this programme is supposed to be for 20 days but because of our peculiarities we have been given the opportunity to extend it beyond the 20 days,” Alfa said.
Also speaking on the exercise, the State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) responsible for the distribution of the registration forms to public schools, Alhaji Alhaji Shettima Ja” afar said the distribution forms across the state is still ongoing with the support of the state and local government councils where there are security challenges.
According to Ja’afar, officials of NOA would not only provide the forms to schools but also handle the biometric registration with Corps members recruited for the exercise.
He explained that corps members would handle the registration in Maiduguri Metropolitan, Jere and Biu Local Governments while the remaining 24 LGAs would be handled by NOA.
A parent, Bukar Usman, who spoke at 1000 Housing Estate primary school in Konduga Local Government where the exercise is ongoing, lauded the Initiative which they said encourage their children to rush to school.
“This feeding programme made them rush to school without waiting to take breakfast at home. It should be sustained,” Usman said.
Amina Mohammed, a food vendor under the programme, also lauded the programme for creating employment opportunities for her and other vendors and urged for sustenance.
“I also want to appeal for an upward review of funding because prizes of commodities have gone high and we (vendors) won’t make any gain if we continue like this,” Mohammed said.
The Head Mistress of the school, Mrs Hauwa Balami, said so far over 400 pupils had been captured in the ongoing exercise, adding that 12 food vendors are supplying food to the school under the programme.
Balami said there is a committee of four people responsible for ensuring the quality of the food.