President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has approved the increase of the cost of a meal per pupil from N70 to N100 while announcing the training of 42 cooks under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
The training is to build their capacity and ensure a healthy and safe hygienic environment for pupils. It is tagged ‘Nationwide Documentation and Training of Master Cooks on NHGSFP’.
Speaking at the venue in Lokoja, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said the training was to build the cooks’ capacity to ensure safe and healthy meals for schoolchildren.
The minister, represented by the nutritional assistant on NHGSFP, Susan Simpa, said the 42 participants would go back after the training to their various local governments to train others.
According to her, two cooks were selected from each of the 21 local governments in Kogi, who will in turn train 20 cooks each in their localities.
The NHGSFP is a component of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), established by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring poor Nigerians out of poverty.
She added that the training would improve the hygiene pattern of NHGSFP implementation, noting that the government also provided quality feeding utensils for the cooks.
Suleiman Onyekehi, the NSIP focal person in Kogi, said the idea was to improve the quality of food and nutritional values given to schoolchildren, and increase enrolment in school.
Mr Onyekehi, the special adviser to the Kogi governor on special projects, stressed that the federal government was taking the programme seriously because of its purpose and objectives.
He urged the participants to listen attentively to ensure a thorough compliance with the national guidelines.
”So, I want you to take this training very seriously, and also see the programme as a service to humanity,” he advised.
He further stressed that the NSIP Kogi recruited 2,933 cooks for the NHGSFP, while over 800 recruited additional cooks are awaiting final approval to accommodate remaining schools and pupils yet to benefit from the programme.
He noted that the delay was due to the nationwide pupils’ enumeration exercise.
He disclosed that the federal government had approved the increase in cost of meals per child from N70 to N100, though yet to be implemented.
According to him, the federal government is doing its best to commence the implementation probably when schools resume for the third term.
Fatima Abdulmumin, a participant who spoke on behalf of the cooks, said, “The cost per child is N70 but we are hoping the federal government will increase it to N100 as they have promised because things are now very costly.”