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School feeding: FG begins enrollment of 642,500 pupils in Borno

The Federal Government has begun biometric data capture of 642,000 pupils to scale up implementation of the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme (NHGSFP) in Borno.

Alhaji Mohammed Alfa, the Consultant of the programme, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Maiduguri.

Alfa said the one-week enumeration exercise was going smoothly across the state.

“Initially; we planned for 112,500 beneficiaries in Borno, however, the figure based on updated data rose to 642,500, and so far, we have only 55 tablets and expecting delivery of 212 others to speed up the exercise.

“Any moment from now, that would go round the 27 local government areas of the state.

“The good news for Borno is that this programme is supposed to be for 20 days, but because of our peculiarities, we have been given the opportunity to extend it beyond that,” Alfa said.

Also speaking, Alhaji Shettima Ja’afar, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the state, said the Agency was saddled with responsibility for the distribution of the registration forms to public schools.

Jaafar said that personnel of the Agency with support of local councils’ officials were distributing the forms in some areas with security challenges.

He said the personnel would also handle the biometric registration alongside Corps members engaged for the exercise.

According to him, the Corps members will handle the registration exercise in Maiduguri, Jere and Biu LGAs, while personnel of the Agency would conduct the exercise in the remaining 24 LGAs.

Mr Hauwa Balami, the Headteacher, 1,0000 Housing Estate Primary School, Konduga, said over 400 pupils had been captured in the ongoing enumeration exercise.

Balami said that no fewer than 12 food vendors were engaged to supply meal to the pupils in the school under the programme.

“We have a committee of four people responsible for ensuring the quality of the food,” she said

Some of the parents, Bukar Usman, Yagana Modu and Fatima Ali, lauded the initiative, saying it encouraged enrollment and retention in school.

“The feeding programme made the pupils eager to rush to school without waiting to take breakfast at home. It should be sustained,” Usman said.

A food vendor of the programme, Amina Mohammed, also commanded the programme, adding it created employment opportunity for her and other women in the state.

“I also want to appeal for an upward review of fund because prices of food commodities have gone up, and we (vendors) wont make any gain if we continue like this,” she said.

The school feeding programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in collaboration with state governments.

The programme is designed to ensure that each pupil from primary 1 to primary 3 in public school receive one free nutritious meal during school hours.

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