News The African Way

Nigeria: Kaduna Suspends Senior Official Over Free School Feeding

By Iliya Kure

Kaduna (Nigeria) — Kaduna State in northern Nigeria has suspended one of its senior education official in Zaria, for allegedly sharing money to hired food vendors under its free feeding programme, instead of allowing leaders of the vendors union to play that role.

The state government had on January 18th flagged its free feeding programme meant to provide a US$0.25 worth plate of meal per day to 1.5 million pupils in over 4,000 public primary schools in the state.

By programme design, government will weekly deposit monies meant for vendors in designated banks, where heads of the vendors union would access and distribute same to each vendor for the week’s meal.

Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Shehu Adamu said “it was alleged that the officer gathered all the heads of the cooperative societies within the local government in his office.

“He collected the monies from them and was personally sharing it to the vendors which lasted up to the middle of Monday night, thereby affecting the implementation of the programme in Zaria.

“That is not his responsibility, and therefore, he is suspended to enable the ministry carry out full investigation into the matter, “Adamu said.

He said investigation is ongoing in other local government areas where such cases were reported, emphasising that government will not spare any official found wanting.

Adamu admitted lapses inn some local government areas, where some food vendors could not, leading to failure in food provisions in affected schools, saying all the hitches encountered in the first week were being addressed.

He attributed the inability of some vendors to access their money in the banks to problems with account numbers, adding that the issues have been sorted out.

“In fact, as of Friday, some vendors have already started receiving alerts against the second week of the implementation of the programme”.

“In the same vein, every pupil is expected to bring a plate from home and a bottle of water as the programme did not make provisions for drinking water.

“But we learnt that some of the pupils instead of coming with plate from home collect the food in nylon bag. This is unacceptable and hence forth, no pupil should be served in nylon.

“Therefore, parents must ensure that they provide a plate and drinking water to their wards before sending them to school,’’ he said.

He urged parents, community leaders as well as parents’ teachers association to monitor the programme to ensure its success.

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