The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk said the federal government spent about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the Covid-19 lockdown in two states and the FCT—and she’s defending the expenses.
According to her at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja, the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, and some CSOs were witnesses while state governors were partners.
She said that the program was modified and implemented in three states–Lagos, Ogun, and FCT– following a March 29 Presidential directive.
Lagos is the most economically vibrant state in Nigeria, and many believe its poverty rate cannot warrant presenting such burden of school feeding during the Covid-19 shutdown.
Providing details to debunk rumors, Farouk said the provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the ministry.
“The ministry, in obeying the presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations remained a most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown.
“So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States, as pilot cases.
“According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to six members in its household, with three to four dependents.
“So, each household is assumed to have three children.
“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.
“The meal costs N70 per child. When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month.
“Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month, and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration’.
“The agreement was that the federal government would provide the funding while the states would implement it.
“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.
“TrackaNG monitored and gave daily updates validating the programme.
“In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 homes in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 families affected between May 14, and July 6.
“If 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.”