By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The Federal Government has distributed 15, 750 utensils and 1,000 aprons to public primary schools in Abuja to improve hygiene and safety during meals.
Hajia Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development said this at the distribution exercise at LEA Primary school, Jabi, Abuja on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the utensils includes; plates and spoons for the pupils as well as continuation of 2020 distribution in which 73,060 utensils and 1,555 aprons were distributed.
The distribution is under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
“Today, we are here to fulfil President Muhammadu Buhari’s gesture on handing over feeding utensils to FCT Authorities for the use by school pupils on the NHGSFP.
“The NHGSFP is one among the four key interventions of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which seeks to increase enrolment of children into schools, boost their nutrition and encourage entrepreneurship.
“I am happy to report that we have so far fed about 10 million pupils, and engage over 100,000 cooks across the country,’’ Farouq said.
The minister further said that employment opportunities were being created within the school feeding ecosystem in sectors of transportation, agriculture, energy supply and food materials packaging.
According to her, the programme is designed to reduce poverty in all its forms and in collaboration between the Federal and State Governments.
She reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the programme.
“I am pleased to note that the NHGSFP has resume across the nation, following a short break occasion by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Federal Government under the directives of President Buhari adopted its social protection mechanisms to respond to the social and economic challenges occasioned by the pandemic.
“Part of these is the deployment of take-home rations initiative to Lagos, FCT and Ogun,” she said.
According to her, a total of 124,000 households of pupils on the programme were targeted and received a food basket comprising of uncooked materials including rice, beans, palm oil and eggs.
“This is selected for the nutritional benefits of the children, even at home we recorded tremendous success in this intervention that brought succor to the lives of many Nigerian pupils.’’ she said.
Farouq said the ministry, with support of the presidency would continue to roll out policies and strategies to strengthen, sustain and scale up the programme as well as the others under the NSIP.
Responding, Mrs Chinwendu Amba, the FCT Focal Person of NHGSFP appreciated President Buhari and Farouq for their passion and commitment to ensuring that pupils are given the best of meals in school.
Amba pledged to ensure that the utensils were used judiciously by the pupils and the schools.