WakeUpAfrica360 EXCLUSIVE; APC School Feeding Program A Fact Or A Hoax?
The Federal Government, under the President Buhari administration, launched a Home-Grown School Feeding Program (HGSFP), through its National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), in 2015. The aim of the HGSFP, is to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable group, by providing at least one balanced and nutritious meal a day to pupils in Primary 1-3, in public schools across Nigeria.
The school feeding program, which was said to has started in 2016, is one of the APC government’s biggest call to fame, as they have used the HGSFP, in all their campaign claims. Sometimes there are claims that the FG has so far spent N490 Billion in the last two years, in feeding pupils across 24 states, sometimes it says it has spent $183 Million to feed 8.596 million pupils, or 199 million pupils in 46.247 public schools. It also claims to have employed over 90,670 vendors or 95,422 vendors or 90,000 vendors, as the case may be, who now provide the free meal to the pupils.
The only figure which has been consistent, is the claims that at 100,000 farmers are now engaged to provide local food products directly to these vendors, thus creating a value chain method through the programme.
Now the elections are approaching, and of course, the APC is singing their praises regarding the school feeding program, which it has effectively carried out across 24 states in the country.
WakeUpAfrica360 went around some cities in Nigeria, namely, Abuja, Lagos, Akure and Ibadan, to really see if this HGSFP is happening, and the impact it has had so far on the pupils, in particular and the schools in general. And here are our findings.
We visited the following schools, LEA Nursery/Primary School, Life Camp, LEA Kubwa IV Primary School and LEA Primary School Gwarimpa. We discovered that the HGSFP is not happening in public schools in Abuja. Though some teachers who spoke under anonymity, told WakeUpAfrica360 that they were informed during a workshop that the HGSFP will start in January 20109, but they haven’t seen or heard anything about it again. Further probing also revealed that the school feeding programme was happening in Abuja during President Jonathan regime, interesting isn’t it. Some of the pupils of these schools said they would be happy to get the free meal from government if it is made available.
WakeUpAfrica360 visited Tokunbo Alli Primary School, Obalende Primary School and Surulere Primary School. The shocking news is that the HGSFP is also not happening in the public schools in the entire Lagos State, because the teachers claimed that they were all under the same UBE and so there was no way it would be happening in one LGA and not happen in another LGA. In Lagos, the teachers were so fearful they didn’t want to talk about the HGSFP, and didn’t even allow us speak to the students regarding it. There seemed to be a hush sign around the topic, in fact in Obalende Primary School, we were directed to Eti-Osa LGA, to meet the Executive Secretary on Education, Mr Lanre Taiwo, as they said we would get all the necessary information about the HGSFP from Mr Lanre.
WakeUpAfrica360 visited IMG Primary School, Sharp Corner, Oke-Ado and St James Cathedral Basic School, where for the first time, we were told the HGSFP is happening in the state. Though the food vendor had left IMG school before we got there, a teacher who spoke anonymously, told us that the quality of the food is poor. In St James, the teacher also complained about same quality, but expressed that there was nothing they could do about it, because the entire program was not under their control. The students of both schools, who were happy for the free meal though, expressed their concerns that the quantity given to each pupil is small, hence some of them have to come to school with food from home so as to be satisfied. In fact some of them did not tell their parents of the free meals so that the can still be given food or lunch money from home.
WakeUpAfrica360 visited St Paul’s Anglican Primary School, St Anthony’s Primary School and Medeyese Memorial CACA Primary School. We discovered that the HGSFP is happening in Ondo State as well, and the teachers confirmed that the vendors bring the food regularly, except on days when they don’t get their payment alert ahead for feeding the next day. And that in such cases, the vendors would call the HM and inform them of their absence and the reasons for it. Most of the schools have about 3 vendors, except for Medeyese which has only one vendor, and of which the HM could not give any tangible reason for it. A look at the menu timetable in Akure showed a food and fruits list poor everyday of the week, the fruits is meant to be dessert, to go after the meal. The menu for Monday was boiled Yam+Egg sauce/Crayfish sauce and fruits such as Banana, Pineapple etc. however, when the vendors came, they only served the pupils boiled yam and crayfish sauce, there was no egg sauce and no fruit dessert. When we probed, one of the vendors said, they only cooked what they are paid for. Which would mean that the menu is not followed to the latter and what happens to the monies stipulated for it?
Speaking to some of the pupils in Akure, they expressed their happiness to the FG for the free meal, but prayed for the quantity to bigger, as most of them still brought food from home to supplement the HGSFP meals.
Based on these findings, WakeUpAfrica360 spoke to a staff of NSIP Abuja, who told us that the HGSFP was meant only for schools in APC led states. However, Lagos and Abuja are counted as APC states, yet the HGSFP is not happening in those cities….Also, why is the menu not followed to the latter, what happens to the monies budgeted for fruits and other complete meals in the menus? We hope we can get the answers soon….
Photo and Video credit WakeUpAfrica360
Special report by Akudo Abengowe-Adebayo