Over 19,000 schools and about three million pupils have so far been covered under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
According to figures released by the Vice President’s Office, 2,918,842 schoolchildren from 19,881 schools in the 14 pilot states of the federation have so far benefitted from the programme, part of government’s N500 billion Social Investment Programmes, SIPs.
N6,643,432,789 billion have been disbursed by the Federal Government since the school feeding programme kicked off late last year.
With 3,325 schools, Kaduna State has the highest number of schools so far covered under the programme, as well as 835,508 children, the highest number of schoolchildren who have been fed.
It is closely followed by Bauchi State with an impressive 1,904 schools already covered, while 307,013 schoolchildren in the state have so far benefitted from the programme.
Benue State follows with 2,220 schools and 240,827 schoolchildren fed. Ogun state is also a big beneficiary with 903 schools and 231,660 pupils fed.
Zamfara State also recorded a high number, with 1,952 schools covered and 198,788 pupils fed under the programme.
Osun state which pioneered feeding school kids since the beginning of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration has 1,850 schools covered and 151,438 pupils being fed.
In Taraba state, 1,479 schools have been covered and 171,835 pupils fed so far, while a total of 1,403 schools have been covered in Oyo State, where 107,983 pupils have been fed.
In Anambra State, 807 schools have been covered and 103,742 schoolchildren have been fed so far, while in Enugu State, 108,898 pupils in 622 schools have been fed.
In Ebonyi State, the school feeding programme has so far covered 1,050 schools and 163,137 schoolchildren have been fed. Also, a total of 95,134 schoolchildren in 882 schools have been fed in Plateau State.
Delta and Abia states recorded 742 schools each, with 141,663 and 61,316 schoolchildren fed respectively.
With the commencement of a new academic session this month, it is expected that more schools will benefit from the programme, as more states would be added to the list, in line with the Federal Government target that 5.5 million schoolchildren would be fed by the end of 2017.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has explained that one of the reasons the Buhari administration’s Homegrown School Feeding Programme was conceived is to address problems of malnutrition especially regarding primary school pupils.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this earlier today while receiving, at the Presidential Villa, a delegation of Nigerian human nutritionists led by the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar.
Abubakar, who came with leaders of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, had detailed the concerns of Nigerian professional human nutritionists on malnutrition challenges, and how Nigeria is faring regarding the global nutrition targets. The delegation urged the Federal Government to inaugurate a National Council on Nutrition to address the situation.
In his response, Vice President Osinbajo noted that the problems of malnutrition are part of the reasons “why we have the Homegrown School Feeding Programme to deal with the issues of human nutrition.”
He added that the Federal Government would be ready to collaborate with States where nutrition issues are most urgent in prioritising the implementation of the school feeding programme. Already, 14 States are benefiting across the country, with almost 3 million pupils being fed daily.
The Vice President stated that the government would consider inaugurating the National Council on Nutrition, urging the experts to come up with an action plan to effectively address the malnutrition challenges in the country.