From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has said it had recruited about 2, 200 caterers to handle cooking in the first and second phases; of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), in the state.
Our Correspondent reports that the HGSFP is one of the Federal Government Social Investment Programmes (SIP), aimed at feeding children in public schools with a meal per day.
Mr Abdulkareem Onyekehi, the Special Adviser to the Governor, on Special Projects and Kogi SIP Focal Person, disclosed this at a Sensitization Programme and Official Resumption of HGSFP, organised for the recruited caterers in the state.
He noted that the pilot phase of the HGSFP implementation began in Kogi on February 8, 2019, with 62,559 pupils in public schools in 18 LGAs, but was later suspended due to issues of non adherence to the national guidelines, in some North Central states.
He, however, said that Kogi State had been cleared by the national office to resume the HGSFP, which was officially inaugurated on Sunday.
According to him, a total of 850 caterers were already captured, recruited and trained for the programme, while additional 1, 296 caterers have been recruited in batch B to join the batch A.
“It means that more hundreds of schools and thousands of pupils would be captured, more jobs would be created and many other benefits from the economic value chain of the programme.
“A very sensitive programme of this magnitude covering almost the entire state is not one to be handled with levity.
“Hence, we have put in place, our Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) team, to monitor various schools on a daily basis, to see that the caterers perform their work in line with national guidelines.
“We have our Desk Officers and Coordinators on ground to ensure that the programme is carried out according to the laid down rules and regulations, and we would not hesitate to sanction any defaulter.
He commended the governor for the way the New Direction Government, was paying much attention to the programme and ensuring quality education in Kogi.
He further thanked the governor for creating jobs especially for the caterers and the enabling environment created for the children to learn and get fed in school.
He urged the caterers, to rally support for the re-election of the governor and APC party; for them to continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy under the ruling party APC.
“Tell your parents, children, siblings and husbands, to come out en-masse and vote for Bell Onoja, come November 16, 2019, for continuity,” Onyekehi said.
In his remarks, Gov. Yahaya Bello, encouraged the women caterers to do their job diligently, and not ‘cut corners’, saying the feeding was meant for children and not adults.
Represented by his running mate and deputy governorship candidate in Kogi November 16 election, Mr Edward Onoja, Bello urged the caterers to give the best of hygienic nutrition to the children.
He urged the women to go back to their various communities to mobilise support for the governor’s reelection on Nov. 16, saying he believed in the power of women.
“In the next 24 to 25 days, we shall be going for an election to decide the destiny of our state and our children’s future.
“Don’t allow anybody to deceive you but believe in the capacity, intelligence, honesty and passion of GYB for the people.
“We will never disappoint our people. We must put an end to family business in Kogi State; from father to in-law, from in-law, to younger brother, and from younger brother, to son.
“Kogi State says enough is enough, women say enough is enough.
“What our government has done in the last three and half years is to ensure that the people of Kogi are united, irrespective of ethnic or religious differences,” he said.