School Feeding: We collect #2,400 to feed 70 Students daily – Ondo Food Vendors
They are liars – Akeredolu’s Aide
Food vendors engaged by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for home grown feeding programme in Ondo state have described as insufficient the money disbursed to them to cook for primary school pupils in the state.
The school feeding was first launched in Ondo state in 2017 by the vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
The ministry also recently disclosed that over #1.8 billion had been expended on the programme in Ondo state during the bio data capturing exercise in the Ondo state.
Independent investigation revealed that since the programme commenced in the state about three years ago, it has experienced series of challenges ranging from operation and logistical problems which have threatened its success.
A cross section of food vendors who spoke under the condition of anonymity told ROVING REPORTERS that the money collected on weekly basis to cook food for the pupils was no longer practicable with the current market reality.
Some of them lamented that they were getting a sum of #12,000 weekly to take care of between 50 and 70 pupils in some schools.
One of them said “ The money given to us is not enough compared to the number of students we cook for. To be sincere, the government is giving us eggs for the pupils but the other expenses and items such as stove and gas we cook with are all expensive. Food Ingredients are also not friendly in the market and we have complained but nothing was done. That is why we give the pupils whatever available.
As for me, there is no how I will bring fruits for the pupils, how will I do it ? So I have ruled out fruits because there is no money available for that.”
ROVING REPORTERS who went round Akure South, Akure North, Ifedore and Idanre local government areas observed that the home grown school feeding menu plan for the pupils are no longer followed as the affected pupils have not been given fruits for over two years.
Investigation revealed that Some food items such as vegetables are no more given to the pupils while a very small ration of food were being served in schools visited while many food vendors have not been consistent in coming to schools.
Speaking with ROVING REPORTERS, a head teacher from one of the primary schools in Ifedore local government commended the Federal government for the school feeding programme which he said had helped with the enrolment into the school.
He however lamented that the food vendors have not been consistent.
He said “ At times, when we called the cook, she will tell us money is not dropping into her account. So we want the money to be dropping into their accounts as and when due.
Sometimes, I studied the body language of the pupils. If the cook is a minute late before she comes, the beneficiaries will go and block the way that she would be coming from.
Eventually, the cook may not come that day. That one is giving us stress by pleading to the pupils and giving them #10 each to get biscuits. In this light, the money must be paid in time for the cook to deliver. We really appreciate the efforts of the government. ”
One of head mistresses, who spoke with our correspondent and pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the vendors did not come for the programme any longer. She said they complained that they were not paid for the programme.
She, however, disclosed that some people from the Federal government, Abuja, came to meet all school administrators and other stakeholders in respect of the programme.
“They said they will bring some forms to be filled by the PTA chairmen and other stakeholders. They promised to deploy corpers and some national agencies that will come to do capturing for the pupils between now and next month.”
The head mistress added that “They said they wanted to add more money for the programme, and until then the programme will continue operation.
“The vendors have not come this term. We have not seen them since we resume this term. Even last term, they didn’t come for about two weeks till we had holidays.”
Reacting, the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Akeredolu on Multilateral and Intergovernmental Relations and Ondo State Focal Person on Nigerian Social Investment Programme, Mrs Bunmi Ademosu described the claims as untrue.
Ademosu told our correspondent that the food vendors had over the times inflated the number of pupils they claim to feed in many schools hence the need of the ongoing biometrics data capturing.
She said “ It is not true. They are to take care of primary one to three ,so if they choose to take care of any pupil out primary one to three, whose headache is that?
There are rules and regulations following school feeding. We don’t pay money from akure and their money is paid directly into their bank accounts.
As we speak, the Federal government is going round and doing biometrics, so if some food vendors are claiming that they are taking 700 pupils and they get to the schools and do biometrics of just five children, will they now say anything again ?
If you don’t have international passport, will u be allowed to enter any country ? So, whatever anyone says now,there is no answer I will give because we keep repeating the same thing. But the result of biometrics will be out and everyone will keep quiet over the whole story.
There is a school somewhere in Akure North Local government, when a food vendor came to my office and she was yelling and making noise that she had over one hundred pupils, I had to direct two of the officials to visit her school and on getting there, it was discovered that the woman was not even taking care of 30 pupils and had been collecting eggs for over 70 pupils. So they have been giving out wrong information.”