The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, says the federal government spent over N500 million to feed school pupils in Abuja, Ogun and Lagos States respectively, during the lockdown and not N13 billion as being rumoured.
The Minister stated this in a statement signed by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communications, Halima Oyelade, on Monday.
Critics have doubted the expenditure and attacked the minister for concealing the amount spent so far on the alleged school feeding programme.
Farouq explained: “In recent days, there have been rumours and innuendos and speculations around one of our key interventions; the Home Grown School Feeding Programme which was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th Presidential directive.
“Each Take Home Ration is valued at N4,200 and that figure was not arrived at without proper consultation. It was not invented.
“According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 regarded as dependent and so each household is assumed to have 3 children. Now based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.
“The meal costs N70 per child. When you take 20 school days per month it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month. 3 children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month. That was how we arrived at the cost of the Take Home Ration.
“In the FCT 29,609 households were impacted; Lagos recorded 37,589 households while Ogun state was 60,391 households making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, 2020 and July 6, 2020. If 124,589 households received Take Home Rations valued at N4,200 the total figure will be N523,273,800.
“And note this was not spent daily. The FCT commenced first, followed by Lagos before Ogun state. It was not daily.”
She also clarified that she never said “every Nigerian has received palliatives. What I said is that every state government in Nigeria has received palliatives for onward distribution to the poorest of the poor in their states.”
According to her, “the Ministry will not be deterred from fulfilling its mandate also pointed out that very few government programmes have received such high level of self-imposed scrutiny with the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and a host of NGOs invited to monitor the home grown school feeding programme.”