By Faith Yahaya
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Farouq has flagged off verification of the beneficiaries of the National Home Grown School Feeding in Kogi State.
She said the objective was to have a database of the beneficiaries and help in scaling up beneficiaries from the present nine million pupils to 15 million pupils by 2023 in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister also said verifying the existing number of beneficiaries on the programme and updating their records will guarantee effectiveness, transparency and accountability.
In a statement by the ministry, the Minister, who was represented by Deputy Director in charge of internal audit, Patience Achor, said: “Over nine million pupils benefit from one free nutritious meal a day nationwide and, now we have the mandate to reach an additional five million pupils by 2023.
“With over 100,000 cooks employed, and more than 100,000 smallholder farmers participating in this value chain, the NHGSFP is a serious potential for socio-economic development and it needs to be strengthened, scaled up and sustained nationwide”
She urged the government and other stakeholders to co-operate with her ministry in its efforts to have a successful data capturing of beneficiaries in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Folasade Ayoade, on behalf of the Governor, Yahaya Bello promised to partner with the ministry to have a successful enumeration of beneficiaries.
He also called for its expansion to cover other pupils.
The State Special Adviser and Focal Person on the National Social Investment Programme ( NSIP), Abdulkarim Onyekehi said that the exercise came at a time the state government was planning to embark on a similar exercise.
He said that the enumeration will authenticate the number of beneficiaries in the state which he put at 177,000.
Onyekehi said that the state currently has over 258,000 pupils in classes one to three in public primary schools in the state, expressing the hope that more beneficiaries from the state will be accommodated at the end of the verification exercise.