Federal Government is currently feeding not fewer than 8.5 million school children daily under its school feeding programme across the country, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Hajiya Maryam Uwais has said.
The Adviser, who disclosed this during a high level interactive Social Policy Workshop on strengthening capacity to ensure sustainability for child targeted programmes in Northern Nigeria quickly added that, the gesture was aimed at not only to reduce the pressure on families to feed their children, it also improves learning and health of the children.
United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, has organised a Workshop for 19 Northern states commissioners of Planning and Women Affairs under the UNICEF’s New Country Programme (2018 – 2022), designed to expand the scope of interventions in social policy activities in northern Nigeria.
According to Uwais, enrolment of children in primary schools has drastically improved, “many of our poorest citizens do not prioritise education often due to lack of appreciation of how education can enhance the fortunes of a child.”
Speaking further she said, the engagement of over 136,000 teaching assistants under the Federal Government’s N-power programme across the country had improved the quality of education at elementary and junior secondary schools.
The idea of school feeding programme she said, was conceived and being implemented by the Federal Government to increase school enrolment and boost the nutrition status of Nigerian children.
“Our potential as a nation cannot be fully realised when over 40 percent of our population are deprived of their capacity to achieve their full potentials.
“Where we do not deliberately plan to educate and empower our girl-child, we lose the economic potential of the value she could have contributed to herself, the household and the community, not to talk of the impact of her knowledge on her children and generations after her.
She therefore urged the participants to find out why the northern part of the country was lagging behind on many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on health and survival of Children.
In a remark, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II called on State Governments to do everything possible to ensure effective implementation of policies that will check child and maternal mortality.
The Emir restated the commitment of his Emirate Council to continue to support all government’s policies and programmes aimed at promoting girl-child education in the state and the country at large.