President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has defended its plan to feed school children at home, insisting that the programme is not a scam as alleged by Nigerians.
Nigerians on and off social media have been condemning the policy, insisting that it is a fraud.
The Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP), recently asked the federal government to make public its spending on the programme.
Last Sunday, Bode George, a former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noted that the idea of feeding school children at home is “more than laughable”.
But Sadiya Umar Farouq, minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, on Thursday, defended the government’s decision to spend N679 million on the programme.
Speaking in Lagos State at the flag-off of food items distribution, under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) at St. Francis Primary School, Maryland, Farouq said feeding children at home is an internationally-accepted practice, to check food insecurity and malnutrition.
“The idea of take-home rations is not unique to Nigeria, neither is it a scam. It is a globally accepted means of continuing to have access to nutrition and nutritionally-rich foods, despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding,” The Nation quoted her as saying,” the minister said.
Titilola Adeyemi-Doro, Special Assistant to the President on NHGSFP, said 37,589 households have been selected, out of 112,767 pupils benefiting from the school feeding programme in Lagos
The official explained that the team “engaged the community to formulate the definition of being poor and not being able to provide for their wards”.
She said priority was given to “women, widow-headed households, households headed by persons with a disability, households whose breadwinners have lost their job and have no or little income, among other criteria.”