No fewer than 9 million primary school pupils in 53,000 public schools are currently benefiting from the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) across the country.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq disclosed this during the distribution of engagement letters and monitoring devices to over Independent Monitors of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) trained by the Ministry.
Speaking during the distribution of the Engagement letters and devices to 89 trained Independent Monitors in Ondo State, the Minister explained that the sum of N30,000 will be paid monthly to each of the Independent Monitors.
According to her, the NSIP was created by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 with the mandate of lifting citizens out of poverty through a number of Social Interventions, including Job Creation Programme – N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
Farouq who was represented by the Assistant Director in the Ministry, Jumai Ali explained that these programmes currently being implemented across the 36 States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), were moved to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in 2019 following the creation of the Ministry.
She further stated that the Ministry flagged off the training of 5,000 Independent Monitors for the National Social Investment Programme which was carried out across the country including Ondo, Ogun and Kaduna State from February 2021 to April 2021.
The Minister added that the Independent Monitors Engagement letters clearly articulate the scope of work, including routine monitoring of all programmes under the National Social Investment Programme in their assigned LGA, provision of an evidence-based report on findings in the field, submission of various categories of reports in accordance with the set timelines, attending all training and meetings as required by the Ministry, other duties that may be assigned by the Ministry.
Farouq also warned that the Independent Monitors are not allowed to assign their responsibilities to third parties noting that every independent monitor will be held accountable by the Ministry for the task given to them, thus the Ministry reserves the right to disengage an Independent Monitor for misconduct or noncompliance with set guidelines and directives.
“I hereby urge you to carry out this assignment with the utmost sense of patriotism, diligence, and sincerity. We at the Ministry will not accept anything short of the set standards,” she urged.
In her remarks, the Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Multilateral and Intergovernmental Relations and Ondo State Focal Person on of the National Social Investment Programme, Mrs Bunmi Ademosu, charged the Independent Monitors to be alive to their duties as much is expected from them just as she stressed that their effectiveness is central to the success of the initiative.
Mrs Ademosu also restated the government’s commitment to reaching out to the poor and vulnerable through the N-SIP while urging the Monitors to help rewrite the history of Nigeria and that as young people, they must be involved in the fight to eradicate poverty and corruption in the country.
She stressed that the needed Software App which is the Social Investment Management Application has already been installed on the Tablets being distributed, noting that with the use of the App, a lot more will be achieved in terms of increasing efficiency and accuracy of the programme.
Speaking in Kaduna State, the Minister who was represented by Deputy Director Human Resource Management of the Ministry, Dabo Tijjani reiterated the present administration’s resolve towards addressing various social challenges bedevilling the country, through the implementation of proactive and decisive measures in fighting the effects of absolute poverty and its attendant consequences.
According to her, the NSIPs were deliberately designed to specifically target sections of vulnerable Nigerians, including youths, elderly persons, widows, poorest of the poor, children, and micro businesspersons.
While noting that “over 9 million pupils benefit from one free nutritious meal a day during the school term nationwide,” she explained that the “Ministry now has the mandate to reach an additional 5 million pupils by 2023.”
Sadiya Farouq noted that 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.
The Minister commended the State Governments for their commitment toward implementing the NHGSFP, expressing her delight over the synergy and cooperation between the State and Federal NHGSFP teams and other stakeholders namely: National Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Education, National Orientation Agency, National Population Commission, National Youth Service Corp, UBEC and the State Education board.
In his remarks, Governor Nasir El-Rufai who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Balarabe Abbas Lawal commended the Ministry for its bold step to strengthen the NHGSFP, adding that the State is ready to cooperate with the Federal Government to make the programme a success.
He assured the Ministry and all stakeholders of the States readiness to render all the needed support to gather all necessary and accurate data for better implementation of the programme in the State.
Speaking in Ogun State, the Minister who was represented by Director Human Resources Management, Mr Bababtunde Jaji observed that all the stakeholders are presently working jointly and closely to verify the existing numbers of beneficiaries on the programme and update the records for better effectiveness, transparency and accountability, which is the main essence of the enumeration.
In his remarks, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi commended the Ministry’s efforts towards assisting the less privileged in the country and also assured the visiting team of the State’s support towards enduring the success of the enumeration exercise and the school feeding programme.