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Yenagoa, May 25, 2023 The Federal Government on Thursday commenced the National Home -Grown School Feeding programme (NHGSFP) in Bayelsa with some 59,000 pupils in 599 public primary schools in Bayelsa benefiting.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this at the inauguration of the programme in Yenagoa.
She explained that NHGSFP was a component of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) aimed at providing one free nutritious meal a day to pupils of primary 1 to 3 in public primary schools across the nation.
The minister, represented by Mr Garba Haganawega, Director Legal Services of the ministry, said the objectives of the programme were to increase school enrolment, attendance and retention.
The objectives also include improvement in the nutritional and health status of school children, job creation by stimulating local agricultural production among others.
The minister stated that the school feeding programme was now taking place in the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT, with the inclusion of Bayelsa into the Programme.
Gov Douye Diri, who noted that his administration was in the process of transforming education through the provision of computers for learning, expressed concern over the delay in initiating the school feeding programme in the state.
Represented by Mr Gentle Emekah, Commissioner for the National Home -Grown School Feeding Programme, he said it would further strengthen what the state government was doing in the education sector.
Representative of the minister presented cooking utensils for the programme to the commissioner for education to kickstart the programme in the state.
Mr Hector Johnson, Secretary of the Bayelsa chapter of Nigerian Union of Teachers, urged the selected cooks to ensure hygienic preparation of the meals to avoid the adverse impact of food poisoning on the health of the beneficiaries.
Mr Emmanuel Benson, Focal Person of the National Social Investment Programme in Bayelsa, commended the Federal Government for converting the programme to a Department, backed by an Act under the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry to ensure continuity.
He expressed optimism that the programme would achieve its objectives in Bayelsa, in spite of starting behind others.