FG school feeding: Oyo pupil weeps over food shortfall

…as Ogun engages 1,381 vendors Ibadan—THE kick-off of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme in some public primary schools in Ibadan, yesterday experienced some hitches. In a school, a twin brother who was not served lunch, because of a shortfall in food prepared, wept uncontrollably. This came as the Ogun State government said it will engage the services of 1,381 food vendors to prosecute its own feeding programme, otherwise called ‘Ogun Meals.’ Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had, last week promised to disburse N72.2million to 2,578 cooks, who would participate in the Oyo programme. The feeding programme, with financial commitment from the state government, will cater for about 158,450 pupils in the public schools across the state. The programme tagged ‘Ajumoje’ (let’s eat together), is intended to increase nutritional strength of pupils in the public primary schools and will, for now, take care of pupils from primaries 1-3. When Vanguard monitored the exercise in Oyo State, it was discovered that food could not go round all the schools. Findings from some of the schools revealed that out of 40 schools in Ibadan North West, only 22 of them had their free food leaving the remaining 18 schools unattended to. At the Saviour African School, Vanguard observed that there are schools 1 and 2 within the premises. While pupils in primaries one to three in school two were served, hopes of those in school 1 were dashed. One of the twins, Kehinde a pupil of school 1 ran up to his twin sister (Taiwo) weeping when he did not get his share of the food. It took the teachers some minutes to pacify him and his frayed nerves were calmed when his sister shared her food with him. A source, who was not allowed to speak with newsmen told Vanguard that the yam and boiled egg that was served, was of good quality adding that if the other schools that were not served yesterday could be attended to, the programme would be a worthwhile exercise. Last Friday, the Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, said that 2,408 public primary schools would benefit from the project, while 2,578 for vendors had been trained and certified medically fit to provide food to the 158,450 pupils across the 33 local government councils of the state. Speaking at the event, the South West Regional Head of the Heritage Bank, Akinola, said that the bank had validated the accounts of all the vendors across the eight zones of the 33 local governments of the state. The Project Manager, Folasade Adekunle hinted that the food will cost N70 per plate for each student. Ogun engages 1,381 food vendors for programme Meantime, in Ogun State, the feeding programme, which kicked off, yesterday, had pupils of St. Paul’s Demonstration School, Oluwo Junction, Abeokuta, being the first set of beneficiaries. The Special Projects/Programme manager, Ogun Meals, Mrs Tinuola Shopeju said it was the flag off ceremony. Shopeju disclosed that the committee in charge of the project which comprised Commissioners for Education, Agriculture, Community Development and Health, commenced work with Federal Government’s team eight months ago to achieve success. She said the food vendors, whose number would later increase to 2,968, were carefully selected, screened by health professionals and trained before they were short-listed for the job. The governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said the school feeding programme would provide a nutritionally-balanced meal to every pupils in Primary One to Primary Three in public schools every school day. Amosun, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, noted that the government would expect improvement in school performance and the health status of the pupils benefiting from the programme. He said the food vendors were being equipped with cooking utensils required to transform them into commercial food caterers. The Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa; the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Modupe Mujota, and the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for fulfilling his electoral promise on free feeding programme.