Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has revealed that no fewer than 7.4 million pupils are currently benefiting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) of the federal government.
Osinbajo, represented by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), made the disclosure at a National Symposium on NHGSFP on Friday in Abuja.
The symposium, organised in partnership with the National Social Investment Office, was in honour of the African Day of School Feeding.
“I am amazed at the level this wonderful programme has attained; this is a major success recorded.
“The programme provides a social safety net that improves the health and education of the poorest and most vulnerable children.
“NHSGSP is among our efforts to combat poverty; it is anchored on ensuring nutrition for our children.
“It is our attempt to reach the family unit in very real times; we have some good work in this regard; it is currently operating in 22 states in Nigeria with 7, 487, 441 pupils as beneficiaries.
“We must appreciate the micro-economic effect of this; it has engaged 75, 330 cooks; over 8000 persons are employed in the value chain– that helps in fighting poverty,’’ he said.
He called on all arms of government to strengthen their commitment to NHSGSP.
In her address, Maryam Uwais, Special Advisor to the President on Social Investments, said that objective of the meeting was to showcase the current NHGSFP; its concept, process and challenges to generate the highest level of political commitment.
She said that the programme was functional in 22 states viz–Abia, Anambra,Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger, Kano, Kastina and Gombe.
According to her, Ondo and Borno will begin before month runs off.
“During the 26th African Union Summit in January 2016, the heads of states adopted school feeding programmes as a continental strategy to enhance retention and performance of children in schools and to boost income generation and entrepreneurship in local communities.
“NHGSFP is one of the major pillars of the social investment effort of the present administration that seeks to impact on the lives of millions of Nigerian in the most direct way possible.
“The others include National Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP), N-Power, Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
“All these programmes have achieved profound successes so far. One the most important aspects of the social investment programmes is the millions of Nigerians who have and would benefit directly and indirectly from each of the various schemes.”