By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has said that seventeen states of the federation are now benefitting from the federal government school feeding program. According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, three other states of Cross River, Akwa-Ibom and Niger joined fourteen others that have been participating in the program. Those fourteen states that have been benefitting included Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba and Kaduna.
He added that one million children from the three added states are currently benefitting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
So far, in Cross River state, 117,750 children in 973 schools are being fed under the programme, while in Akwa Ibom, there are 171,732 children in 1,101 schools being fed. Niger State has a total of 710,880 being fed in 2,411 schools in the state.
In total, 4,773,064 schoolchildren in 25,771 schools in 17 states are currently benefitting from the school feeding programme.
He noted that about 34,869 direct jobs have since been created from the School Feeding Programme across the participating states. In Cross River state, for example, 1,384 cooks have been engaged, while 1,309 cooks are currently engaged in Akwa Ibom State, and 5,924 cooks are engaged under the programme in Niger State.
Meanwhile, few days after the United Nations designated 17th October as the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, thousands of Nigerians identified as poorest and most vulnerable have received the monthly Conditional Cash Transfer in Plateau and Cross River states.
About 115,000 beneficiaries are now being funded with the monthly N5,000 stipend in 16 states; including Borno, Cross River, Niger, Kwara, Ekiti, Kogi, Oyo, Osun, Plateau, Bauchi, Anambra, Jigawa, Taraba and Adamawa.
He said there were reported disbursement hitches in Benue and Anambra states which were are being addressed.
He disclosed that the hitches which had to do with non-opening of bank accounts and enrolling beneficiaries would be corrected by the end of November.
The School Feeding Programme and Conditional Cash Transfer schemes are two of the Buhari administration’s N500 billion Social Investment Programmes, SIPs, aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Nigerians nationwide through welfare and empowerment programmes.