The Federal Government’s National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) has gulped over N6 billion as at September 2017 but with no physical existence of food vendors in many schools across Nigeria.
Investigation by our correspondent shows that the programme is one of the biggest scams of the present administration as the Federal and State Ministries of Education that are supposed to run it lack the effective measures to monitor the programme.
Our correspondent takes a look at some states in the southwest where the programme was piloted some few months ago and discover various anomalies, ranging from poor quality and insufficient food; how public officers, including teachers have manipulated the programme to the detriment of the pupils.
The states visited were Oyo, Ogun and Osun. It may sound unbelievable but it is true that out of over 5, 000 primary schools in the three states, not up to 100 have the programme going on their premises.
And for those who run the programme, food vendors are given between N35, 000 and N40, 000 to prepare different types of meals for two weeks.
A food vendor (Names withheld) in one of the primary schools visited in Ibadan, Oyo State told our correspondent that the she received N33, 000 every two weeks to prepare food for about 170 pupils, adding that she will soon stop the job.
She lamented that she had been running the programme at a loss. “I know, this is not President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan but the teachers and officials from the state ministry have destroyed the motive,” she said.
In Osun State, a teacher (Names withheld) who spoke to our correspondent described the programme as a problem, which the school management could not solve.
“What we receive from the ministry of education is so meagre that it cannot feed 20 pupils for three days but there is nothing we can do about that. At times, we don’t even receive funds from the government for the food vendors,” he said.
He explained that two of the school vendors were yet to be paid and that they had refused to show up in the last one week since the school resumed.
In Ogun State, it was observed that some schools had to levy their pupils between N100 and N150 weekly to be able to pay the food vendors.
“We do this so that the food vendors will not run away. We take the money back whenever the government pays the funds,” a teacher said.
Asked if the money would be given back to the pupils who actually paid for the food, she said that part of the funds were used to buy plastic spoons for the pupils and it was not refundable.