Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said children benefiting from the Federal Government’s School Feeding Programne have increased to 9.3million across the country.
Osinbajo made this known in Ado Ekiti while inaugurating the Homegrown School Feeding Programme at St Michael’s Primary School, Ajilosun.
According to him, Ekiti has become the 31st state to cue into the programme which is now in 56,506 primary schools across the country.
He also said 190,000 farmers now earn a living through the programme by supplying items needed to prosecute the programme while 767 cows and 7.3 million eggs are consumed weekly.
The vice president said the programme, apart from shoring up school enrollment, had given a boost to job creation and helped in poverty reduction.
He added that the policy, which he described as a flagship of the All Progressives Congress- led government, remained one of the four cardinal objectives of the empowerment and social investment policy of the present government.
Osinbajo also lauded Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti for keying into the programme, saying it would not only increase enrollment in schools but also ensure regular attendance.
He said: “The aim of this government is to provide food to our young pupils to make them focused in schools and solve the problem of malnutrition in our children.
“When a child suffers malnutrition in school, the diseases associated with it may cause serious challenge to our pupils and that is why we are taking care of their health for them to be more regular in schools.
“The Federal Government decided to introduce this programme to turn around the agriculture sector by patronising the products of our farmers, who will in turn sell their products in all the schools in their areas.
“Governor Fayemi’s support for the policy shows the importance of the programme and it will help in fighting poverty in this state.”
Osinbajo maintained that the policy had also helped in improving the capacity of some people, especially the food vendors, to enable them to feed their families.
He said: “Some asked how many jobs this will create? The benefits are unimaginable. But we assure that we are going to increase the scope of all our social investment programmes, including tradermoni in the next level. ”
Fayemi had earlier described the policy as “very significant in the lives of the people”, and commended the Federal Government for the initiative.
He said the programme was an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari, but was being anchored through the office of the Vice President.
Fayemi stressed that the state under him places high premium on the policy because it was addressing some of the problems confronting the vulnerable.
He said: “Before we left during the first term, we had a social security scheme where we used to give N5,000 for 25,000 vulnerable elders.
“We had the Ekiti state youth volunteer corps where 10,000 youths got N10,000 monthly. We have introduced free education at both primary and secondary schools among others.
“Unfortunately, these programmes ceased to exist in the entire years of the past administration.
“That is why we are happy that this policy is kicking off in Ekiti.
“Equally , we decided to key into the programme because it was a fulfilment of the APC government and many others will come.”
Fayemi said that 2,000 vendors had already been employed to supply food in the 905 primary schools across the state, while 75,000 pupils in Primary One to Primary Three would benefit.
He said: “Our country, Nigeria, can’t be allowed to slide into the wrong hands and that was why the people decided to vote President Buhari.
“Ekiti people also showed where they belong. This is not a stomach infrastructure, but our children will be remembering this for life.
“These young children are the leaders of tomorrow. We express our appreciation to President Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo for bringing this programme to Ekiti.”