On the 29th of March 2020, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the Nation on the COVID-19 Pandemic causing havoc across the globe. He announced a lockdown and mandatory stay-at-home order to all persons, with certain exceptions in three frontline states, including the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States.
In His address Mr. President assured Nigerians that these measures were necessary to contain and curb the spread of the virus to other parts of the country. He called on Nigerians to adhere to these new rules and support Government for the collective good of the Nation while assuring that relief measures will be extended to vulnerable Nigerians. As part of the measures, the President directed continuation of the Home Grown School Feeding Program to further cushion effects of the lockdown on poor families.
In line with the presidential directive, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has commenced discussion with State Governments to agree on the program delivery modalities.
We are looking forward to modify the modalities to enable the children to continue to receive their daily meal despite the lockdown of economic and social activities. We have come up with different options for implementation and will be sharing with the State Governments.
As you may know, the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was designed to provide 1 free nutritious meal a day to primary 1-3 students across public schools in their classrooms.
The objectives of the program include boosting school enrolment, attendance and performance, improving nutrition amongst school and boosting the local economy. We are currently feeding over 8 Million school pupils in 35 states across 50 thousand Schools in the Nation.
While seeking patience and cooperation as we sort out logistics details for this part of the Government’s palliatives to the people, we commend Mr. President for giving us these directives, so that the gains made by these children are not lost due to this pandemic.
We are also discussing options for continuing the feeding in other States that are not at the frontlines, since schools have also been shut down in all the States.
The Federal Government is responsive and is fully aware of the tough times that are ahead of us and we will therefore deploy the full force in our arsenal of responsive, social interventions to ensure people do not suffer and that children are not left behind during this emergency and social challenge we are facing.
Stay Home and Stay Safe.
Rhoda Ishaku Iliya
Deputy Director (Information)
31st March, 2020.