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HomeEducationNasarawa Best Supportive State In School Feeding Programme-Enumeration Committee

Nasarawa Best Supportive State In School Feeding Programme-Enumeration Committee

 

…. Even as committee uncovers 349 ghost schools

The enumeration committee of the Federal Government homegrown feeding programme for public primary schools, has rated Nasarawa State as the best supportive state in the country, with the team in the state also rated the best in the country.

Team leader of the committee and Adviser to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Mallam Abdullahi Usman, disclosed this when he led the members of the committee on a courtesy call on Governor Abdullahi Sule, at the Government House, on Thursday.

Mallam Usman said that even though he is not comparing the performance of state governors on the programme, but having visited a number of states, Nasarawa State emerges as the best state where the team received the support and cooperation of the government, without which they wouldn’t have been able to achieve what was achieved.

He said the team was at the Government House to brief the Governor on the line of activities heralding the second phase of the enumeration process, where the team is expected to enroll more primary school pupils that have come of age.

The reason why we are here is that the exercise is still a continuous one, like the continuous voter registration of INEC. Because every year people come of age. In our own case here, our target population is primary one to three of only government owned schools. But every year classes change,” he stated.

The enumeration committee team leader added that, the committee will perform the task of vetting new intakes into primary one, while also removing primary three pupils who are moving to primary four which is outside the catchment area of the programme.

Mallam Usman pointed out also that even the entire coverage of schools earmarked to benefit from the scheme was not one hundred percent, as such the committee will equally enumerate all the schools yet to be visited.

He however took time to explain to the Governor how the handiwork of unscrupulous officials nearly denied the state from enjoying the social intervention by the Federal Government.

According to him, through the support and cooperation of the Governor, the committee was able to uncover certain irregularities regarding the total number of schools initially captured to benefit from the national homegrown feeding programme.

Mallam Usman disclosed that, at the beginning of the programme, before the coming of the Engineer Sule administration, 1, 203 public primary schools were captured as benefiting schools but after due process of vetting, the committee discovered that 349 of such schools were actually ghost schools, with some officials pocketing the money meant for feeding these schools.

He said following the discovery, top ministry officials in Abuja called for the removal of Nasarawa State from the scheme but the decision was rejected in order not to punish the poor children that would benefit from the scheme.

He said however that two key officials of the programme in Nasarawa State, the state programme officer, as well as the consultant, were suspended and replaced.

Mallam Usman used the opportunity of the visit to appreciate all relevant stakeholders such as the National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), National Bureau for Statistics (NBS), state ministry of education, amongst others, for making the work of the committee a success in Nasarawa State.

He particularly commended the Governor for his cooperation and support while also recognising the contribution of the state focal person, Hon. Imran Usman Jibrin, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Humanitarian Services.

Responding, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said it was not surprising that the state is being recognised as best in terms of support and cooperation for the national homegrown school feeding programme.

Engineer Sule said it wouldn’t have been otherwise considering that he is both a member of the steering committee of the poverty reduction and growth strategy of the Federal Government, where he is representing the North Central governors, and the technical committee of the same committee, representing governors from the 36 states.

The Governor recalled the last meeting of the committee where President Muhammadu Buhari devoted additional N44bn to be allocated to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, towards expanding the school feeding programme.

“Mr President is looking forward to ensuring that we expand the school feeding program. I am happy that we are doing well. If any state should be doing well and I am not doing well, we are in trouble,” he stated.

Commenting on the criminal activities of the suspended officials, Engineer Sule described their act as a double jeopardy.

He lamented that while there are over 1, 400 public primary schools in the state, these greedy officials short-changed the state by registering 349 nonexisting schools, pocketing the money meant to feed the pupils while also denying the genuine schools from being captured in the programme.

“It’s not that we don’t have 1200 schools, the 800 and something they actually presented which are the ones you verified, and the other ones are the duplications. The duplications were the ones the criminals were making money from. But in reality denying the other schools that would have been benefitting from it. That was why I said it was double jeopardy,” Engineer Sule explained.

The Governor used the opportunity to call on the new members of the committee call on other to understand if they misappropriate money meant to feed poor children they will pay for it and badly, stressing that it’s better for them to do the best they can and be on the safe side and do what is right.

“I am begging you in the name of God, that these children, a lot of them Mr President has approved their payment, mainly because these people the way you see them, is because they can’t feed themselves.

“A lot of them come from homes were they don’t have opportunity for breakfast. Now Mr President said give them the breakfast and you steal the money and deny them the breakfast. And you think God will allow you to go free?” the Governor said.

Engineer Sule said he gladly supported the enumeration team and other officials from Abuja to investigate the malfeasance and to sanction the erring officials.

He used the opportunity to appreciate the team in the state led by Mallam Abdullahi Usman, as well as the state focal person for the programme, Hon Imran Usman Jibrin, for the wonderful job there are doing to make the programme a success.

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