The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme of the Buhari administration now feeds almost 5 million school pupils at least once a day, according to the Government.
The numbers were boosted from under 3 million, with the addition of three states – Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Niger – to the scheme. While Cross River and Akwa Ibom have a total of 288,000 students being fed in 2,074 schools, Niger state has a total of 710,880 pupils being fed in 2,411 schools.
Being one of the campaign promises of 2015, the mode of the School Feeding Programme has been under scrutiny, with some reports portraying the programme in a bad light. Questions surrounding quality of the meals as well as hygiene have come up regularly, the most recent playing our on twitter between an online news-media platform, The Signal, and the Digital Communications unit of the Presidency, over a video presumed to be of the disturbing nature of one of the centers where the programme is in effect. The DigiComms unit denied that the video was a true video of the School Feeding programme.
Six standard rules guiding the School Feeding programme was published on twitter, including a mandate on teachers to serve pupils on their desks in their classrooms and not on their hands, and that “each meal is served with protein”.
By geo-political spread, the South East has the largest proportion of states from a region benefitting in the programme of the six-geo political zones, while the North-East is least represented among the 17 states.
• South-East: Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia
• South-South: Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta
• South-West: Oyo, Osun, Ogun
• North-East: Taraba
• North-Central: Niger, Plateau, Benue
• North-West: Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi
• Number of Schools: 25,771
Besides the pupils being fed, the Government also sees the scheme as an employment-generating programme, with the engagement of 34,869 cooks in the 17 states. In Niger state, about 5,924 are said to have been engaged to meet the demand of reaching the over 700,000 pupils being fed.
At the last count, the precise number of children being fed is put at 4,773,064, according to the Government’s official records on the programme.