Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the Home Grown School Feeding scheme would indeed bring real change to the lives of over 20 million children nationwide.
He also said that the constitutional and philosophical underpinnings for the N500billion Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari presidency is a mandate without which the inalienable right to life guaranteed Nigerians by the Constitution is rendered meaningless.
Osinbajo stated yesterday at the launch of the strategic implementation plan of the National Home-grown School Feeding Programme, the first of its kind and one of the five social investment schemes of the presidency.
Addressing a gathering of Governors, State Commissioners, representatives of international donors and partners, top Federal Government officials and civil society groups at the State House’s Banquet Hall, the acting President said the Strategic Plan sets out the partnership arrangement on how federal, state, and local governments are to synergize towards achieving the primary objectives of the School Feeding Programme.
He noted that the plan will only work with the cooperation of federal, state and local tiers of government, while also emphasizing the need for the people buy-in into the scheme.
He said, “It is called ‘Home-grown School Feeding’ for the reason that it must be owned by the people for whom it has been designed.”
Speaking on the theme: “Stimulating Socio-Economic Growth through the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme” at the occasion, Osinbajo said the federal government’s variant of the programme is not just a social welfare scheme which gives hand-outs to the poor, but “a direct economic benefit to the target groups and the economy as a whole.”
The acting president revealed that the scheme would indeed bring real change to the lives of over 20 million children nationwide, adding that it would equally “create the multiplier effect on the local economies in communities where these schools are located by boosting agriculture, entrepreneurship and employment.”
Stating four major benefits of the programme, he said it would improve school enrolment and completion and cut current dropout rate estimated at 30 percent and as the same time reduce child labour and improve child nutrition and health.
Others include increased local agricultural production which would create jobs and invariably lift families over the poverty line.
Osinbajo, who spoke about federal government’s responsibility to part-fund the scheme, stated that it had also secured technical support for the scheme. He praised the development partners, financial and educational institutions, and civil society groups for their support and assistance.
According to Osinbajo, unless government invests significantly in raising people’s living condition, the right to life provided for in the Nigerian Constitution is worthless.