Humanitarian ministry debunks fraud allegation over school feeding program

The ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has debunked insinuations that the modified home grown school feeding Program of the Federal Government is fraught with fraudulent activities as against it’s original objective.

Recall that concerns were raised by stakeholders on the motive and essence of going ahead with school feeding while the children have been on forced holiday on account of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Hence some Nigerians described the new effort as fraududlent as the aim of the program would be defeated if pupils should be fed at home.

Responding to inquest by the Guardian into the controversy, the ministry through its deputy Director of information Rhoda Iliya (Mrs) said, the mischief is being peddled by people who are either not clear about the programme or are focused on bringing the minister and ministry to disrepute.

To buttress her point she said the idea is in consonance with global practice as she quoted the website of the World Food Program, which is providing technical support to the ministry, where there are 17 countries giving out Take-Home Rations.

“Three of those countries are in Africa – South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia.”

The ministry indicated that the program which has been a subject of controversy among Nigerians is targeted at 127, 589 households in FCT, Lagos and Ogun as pilot states.

Ilya gave a breakdown analyses of the program for the 3 pilot States to target 29,609 households in FCT, Lagos with 37589 and Ogun 60,391 with 3 children in each household in participating schools from primary 1-3  on the program.

She explained that all 3 pilot States are in various stages of implementation.

“First, the programme is bing carried out in compliance with a presidential directive.

Secondly, it was designed and agreed on in consultation with the State Governments and funding is provided from the Federal Government to the States.

The director said, the Modified Home Grown School Feeding program is a proactive measure by the Federal Government to provide Take-Home Rations to parents/guardian/caregivers of primary 1-3 school children registered on the programme.

“On March 29th 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR via his nationwide broadcast directed the minister to work with state governments in finding new strategies to feed school children even during the lockdown.

“The Ministry then consulted with the State governments and they agreed, after considering many options, that Take-Home Rations was the most feasible method.”

Explaining further she said, the decision to adopt Take-Home Rations is not novel nor unique to Nigeria.

According to her, Federal government provides the funding while the States are implementing using existing structures.

She indicated that they have deployed monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the rations are supplied and that the beneficiaries are given their rations.

According to her, they recognize the enormity of the responsibility on the shoulders assuring Nigerians that the ministry is focused, equipped and ready to deliver in a transparent and rapid manner, palliatives that will help our vulnerable populations deal with the shocks brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She solicited the support of Nigerians as they set about the task of delivering on the pressing assignment of school feeding.

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