The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN; on Tuesday flagged off the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme tagged Ekiti-Kete School meal in Ekiti State, making Ekiti the 31st state to commence the Federal Government initiative.
Flagging off the programme in Ado- Ekiti on Tuesday, the Vice President said 75,020 pupils in all the public primary schools across the State would be fed once daily; adding that the programme will not only increase school attendance and enrolment but would equally checkmate malnutrition among the school age children.
Prof Osinbajo who explained that the school feeding programme is one of the components of the social investment programme of the Federal Government said the programme is currently catering for 9.3 million pupils and has empowered farmers whose produce are purchased for the programme.
He said it was important that government programmes empower the people and alleviate poverty among the masses.
While commending the State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi for keying into the programme, the Vice President said he was not surprised that the governor is giving support for the success of the social investment programme because he was one of its initiators.
The Vice President said Fayemi pioneered some of the social security programmes, especially the introduction of the Youth Volunteers programme which is now called NPower at the national level and the social security for the elderly.
He stated that the Federal Government had expended N5.6 billion on its social investment programmes in Ekiti State; adding that the Federal Government would soon increase the number of Npower volunteers to accommodate more unemployed youths across the country.
In his welcome speech, Governor Fayemi disclosed that about 2,000 people have been employed to meet the feeding requirements of over 905 public primary schools in the State; adding that the programme will create job opportunity along the value chain of the economy and boost the income of peasant farmers by creating a viable and ready market.
The Governor assured that the state government would play its part with utmost dedication, commitment and honesty to make the school feeding programme in Ekiti State the cynosure of all eyes.
Dr Fayemi recalled that all the social investment programmes which were initiated by his government were jettisoned by his successor, with the state indices in education, health and livelihood abysmally dropped.
He said this was why he promised to key into the Federal Government’s social investment programmes and reactivate “our old social security programme”.
“Your Excellency, we in Ekiti State, commend your relentless personal commitment and leadership on social investment in the country. I can confirm that it has made a major difference in distinguishing between a compassionate government and an uncaring one and the result was evident in the last election.
“ It is clear that the people support our ideology that sees government as a catalyst for development, not a bystander that leaves everyone to his or her fate and we have you and Mr. President to thank for your exemplary leadership in this regard”, he said.
In her remarks, one of the caterers employed for the school feeding in Moba Local Government, Mrs Modupe Ajisefini thanked the government for the initiative; stressing that the programme has improved school attendance since it started a few weeks ago.
She said the programme will provide nutritional value and improve pupils’ intelligence quotient.
Thursday, July 18 2019, 10:28 am