Home Grown School Feedign: Following the Federal Government’s insistence to go ahead with the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme because according to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, it was practically impossible to get back the funds that had already been paid to food vendors before the lockdowns in states commenced, Nigerians have continued to “cry out” to anyone who cares to listen over what they have variously described as a massive fraud being perpetrated by the FG in broad day light and right before their eyes.
Mrs Farouq said, “Hunger is a serious by-product of this pandemic crisis, which is why from the onset my ministry has been evolving strategies to facilitate humanitarian interventions.”
“The ministry in consultation and collaboration with state governments identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring several options.
“This is a globally accepted means of supporting children to continue to have access to nutrient-rich foods despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding,” she added.
But in their swift reactions, Nigerians from all walks of life have condemned the move as a cheap means of siphoning public funds by the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for instance has threatened to embark on a nationwide protest if the Federal Government continued its school feeding programme during school closure occasioned by of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Danielson Akpan, NANS President, “The source of the proposed N697m to be spent daily, amounting to N13.5bn a month on the programme, must be queried, stressing that the decision was “reckless spending”, he said.
Southeast Youth Leaders (SEYL) on their part described the proposed daily spending of N679 million on feeding school children during the current lockdown over coronavirus that has forced schools to close down as a ploy to loot the nation.
They said the recent “looting spree” has exposed the primary aim of the school-feeding programme, stressing that there was no justification for such spending on school children who have been at home.
The youth leaders in a statement by the President General, Goodluck Egwu Ibem and Secretary General, Kanice Igwe said that it was baffling how the federal government would spend such money in an economy that was weak.
“How can anyone come out to say they are spending N13.5 billion monthly to feed children that are at home? Even the most corrupt countries in the world will never come up to say that they are spending money on school children that are not in school. We demand for an immediate probe and prosecution of those looting our wealth in the name of feeding school children. No sane country will allow such daylight robbery to stand.”
They called on EFCC to as a matter of urgency, bring the criminals involved to book and stop playing politics.
Some Nigerians have even taken to the social media to ventilate their frustration at the over by the FG.
Donabu247 @donabu247 wrote: “It is very laughable, that our leaders are making mockery of themselves! How can you take the school feeding program to students at home? I think given palliatives to households settles that issue. The govt must try to upgrade SCH standard and stop wasting money on feeding children.”
Onye Ozi @OnyeOzi5: “Absolutely heartless. The gibberish called school feeding program should have been used to reach verifiable Nigerians in need like these stranded people. Lord have mercy.”
Lymedia2 @allymedia2: “The purpose of schools feeding program is to encourage pupils to go to school. Now that the schools are closed, why feeding them at their homes?”
Jamin victor @jamin_victor: “Nah wah still trying 2 comprehend what are they taking us for? The scam is just too glaring from the disbursement of the covid 19 funds and the school feeding program just to mention a few I cry for my dear country Naija”
Chris Ayo Joseph @officialchrisay: “She is coming to tell us that the school feeding program will still continue. How? So, students will stay at home & eat at school? Chai this country is finished. Corruption is really working from home. I said what I said.”