The school feeding programme of President Muhammadu Buhari is running skeletally in Enugu just a month after it was launched in the state. The Presidency had on February revealed that ₦67,244, 800 have been released to feed 96, 064 pupils in Enugu state.
The National Homegrown School Feeding Programme formerly inaugurated on 9th June 2016 is part of the social investment plans of the federal government which ₦500bn was earmarked for in the 2016 budget.
The aim of the programme is to serve Primary 1-3 pupils adequate diet at least once every school day at ₦70 per meal.
The programme has commenced in some states of the federation as far back as December 2016, while up till now it’s yet to take off in some others.
In Enugu state, it started on February 8. But just a month after commencement, the programme has run into avoidable hitches.
“They started on 8 February. After ten days, they stopped. I called them on phone. They said that the money given to them is only for ten days.”
Mrs Elizabeth Okolo, a head teacher in one of the public primary schools in Enugu disclosed.
“The food they bring is not what it should be. The one we tested, we saw it and discovered that the oil there is not enough,”
Another head teacher disclosed.
The head teachers also complain that the children at the Nursery level were excluded from the programme, and that had brought unhappiness to the younger kids.
Some parents lament that the supply of food was confusing to them as they cannot tell a day that it will or will not be provided for them to give their children launch packs.
Pupils on their part complain that some time they took their plates to school with the hope of getting food only to be disappointed.
“On Monday, we ate beans and orange. Tuesday, we ate rice and banana. They are bringing it week by week. They didn’t come last two weeks.”
A pupil said
“Sometimes they give us half of banana. Sometimes they give us half of orange.”
Another pupil said.
Reacting to the shortcomings of the programme, the secretary and programme manager of Enugu state steering committee on the school feeding programme, Mr Ifeanyi Onah said the irregular supply of food was as a result of initial hitches.
“They paid the vendors for the first two weeks which is ten school days. It is expected that before the expiration of the ten days federal government will pay them again, then they continue. There is not supposed to be an interruption.”
Enugu state Commissioner for education, Professor Uche Eze said his ministry is monitoring the activities of the food vendors to ensure they delivered the service they are being paid for, but the commissioner never mentioned what his ministry is doing to ensure that the vendors get paid to deliver any service.