By Chioma Onuegbu

The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring that more pupils and Schools benefit in the ongoing National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP, across the country.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, spoke on Friday in Uyo during the distribution of feeding utensils to over 161 pupils in public primary schools in Akwa Ibom state.

Farouq disclosed that her ministry has already commenced deployment of interventions to resolve identified gaps in the NHGSFP, aimed at accommodating the additional 5 million beneficiaries nationwide as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Represented by Assistant Director in her ministry, Mr Charles Uko, the minister solicited for Akwa Ibom state government support on continuous sensitisation of communities and individuals on the need to safeguarded the programme from all forms of corrupt practices.

She stressed: “This intervention today is only one out of the several strategic plans of our Ministry that seeks to ensure that the target pupils have the best experience of hygiene and safety during their consumption of those free meals.

“In Akwa Ibom State, we are providing funds to the state selected vendors to feed 161, 575 pupils in 899 schools. It is our fervent hope and appeal that these items are put to the use they were provided for, so that these children benefit more”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Akwa Ibom State Focal Person for National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Dr Godwin Akpan commended both the federal government and state government for sustaining the feeding programme since inception in 2017.

Akpan particularly commended the Federal government for creating the ministry to ensure School children do not have to drop out of school due to inability of some parents to feed their wards, through the feeding programme.

He however appealed for increased number of beneficiaries stressing, “As we speak, we have about, one thousand one hundred sixty-five (1,165) public primary Schools in Akwa Ibom state. And in the enrollment list we have in Akwa Ibom state, we have over 600,000 pupils in Primary 1 to 3.

“That means, more than half of the pupils are not fed, given the number that is being fed presently. We appreciate what the Federal government is doing and we appeal to them to please look into this issue and address it.

“This will ensure that the correct number of pupils are fed and also more Schools taken into consideration. And I want to place on record the commitment of His Excellency the governor of this who not only supported these programmes and ensuring that Akwa Ibom benefits from all the programmes”

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