The programme, expected to provide a “nutritious hot meal” per day to over 20 million primary school pupils when fully operational, is one of the N500bn social investment projects of the present administration.
Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who launched the programme at a stakeholders’ forum held at State House in Abuja, said about 5.5m Nigerians would benefit from it in the first year.
He said the scheme would create the multiplier effect on the local economies in communities where those schools were located by boosting agriculture, entrepreneurship and employment.
“Unless the government invests significantly in getting people out of poverty and address other critical issues affecting children and other vulnerable groups, the inalienable right to life guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution is meaningless,” he said.
Osinbajo said the strategic plan set out the partnership arrangement on how the federal, state and local governments would collaborate towards achieving the primary objectives of the school feeding programme.
According to him, the programme is not just a social welfare scheme which gives handouts to the poor, but a direct economic benefit to the target groups and the economy as a whole.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, who disclosed that the state spent an average of N318m on its school feeding programme weekly, called for effective accountability and monitoring system of the national home-grown school feeding scheme.
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola put the annual expenses of the state’s school feeding programme, “The O-Meals Programme”, at N3.21bn.