Parents of primary school pupils have claimed that majority of them did not benefit from the Federal Government’s Homegrown School Feeding in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
A parent in Kwali Area Council, Mrs Blessing Ayuba, said though she has four children in one of the primary schools in the area, none of her children was captured in the scheme.
“The day enumerators came to capture some of the schools, I personally lodged a complaint but to my dismay, when the list of beneficiaries came out, none of my children’s names appeared on the voucher,” she said.
However, a parent in Abaji Area Council, Abdullahi Shuaibu, said the distribution of the feeding items did not get to him even though his children were captured during enumeration.
Mrs. Grace Uzodinma, a mother of three, in Anguwar Dodo in Gwagwalada Area Council whose two children in a public school in the area did not benefit from the programme said majority of non-indigenes were not considered and that it was unfortunate because those who benefited were mostly natives.
However, a parent in Kwali, Danlani Isaac, who has three children in a primary school in the area, said he was given some packs that comprised of rice, beans, palm oil, vegetable oil, tomato paste, eggs and some condiments.
Also, Mrs Zainab Suleiman in Yaba, Abaji Area Council, said her children got a pack of noodles, a crate of eggs and some condiments.
A voucher on the mode of distribution of the home grown school feeding for Abaji, obtained by Daily Trust Saturday showed that 8,000 pupils are expected to benefit from the school feeding and 4, 500 packs of condiments were given out across some selected primary schools in the area.
Commenting on the programme, the chairman of the FCT chapter of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Alhaji Usman Abubakar, said the distribution was done at the wrong time when schools are closed amidst COVID-19.
Responding to some of the issues raised, an official of the FCT Primary Education Board involved in the programme, Hauwa Abubakar, said the government did not say it will feed all the pupils in public schools in the FCT. “What government gave us is what we distributed. In the whole of FCT, we were supposed to give 29,609 pupils in households and we did that across all the area councils.”
Corroborating this, the Special Assistant to the Minister on Home School Feeding Programme, Aisha Digil, stated the number of pupils/households that benefited from the programme so far.
“Beneficiaries targeted include FCT 29,609, Lagos 37,589 and Ogun 60,391 with three children in a household. Over three million households are targeted across the country.” she said.
Flagging off the programme in Kuje, Abuja, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the commencement of the Modified Home Feeding Programme 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.
“Beginning in Abuja, this programme will target parents and guardians of children from primary 1 to 3 in public schools participating in the programme. A total of 3.1 million households are targeted for this intervention.” she said.
Findings reveal that the programme has begun in the FCT, Ogun and Lagos.