Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party has kicked against the move by the Federal Government of Nigeria to continue the school feeding programme during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The PDP chieftain in a statement issued on Sunday said that pumping money into school feeding programme while the schools are not open is a little absurd because the pandemic had thrown up serious issues in the economy, leading to hunger in the land.
The politician therefore called on the government to instead focus on the provision of stimulus packages and palliatives to salvage the economy and alleviate suffering citizens.
“Pumping money into school feeding programme while the schools are not open is a little absurd.
“It is a redundant, unworkable palliative. In a nation where there is no standard numbering of houses, how do you get the food to the beneficiaries? This is more than laughable. It is tragic,” he added
Reacting further, Bode George said that using the pandemic to play unnecessary partisan politics or stoke sectarian animosity would not do the nation any good.
“We must never reduce this obvious national challenge to partisan feud. This is beyond section triumphalism or sectarian animosity.
“It is about the collective survival of our nation. Let us act by coming together, by discarding old divisions, and embracing a new nationalistic front that can hopefully salvage our country from this pandemic.
“Let our leaders rise in the true spirit of national vision and mobilise our people towards rescue and redemption.
“This is indeed how nations are built and strengthened in times of great challenges. We must wield this country together now in one indivisible brotherhood.
“There are no half measures. There are no separate ways. The solution must be collective, predicated in deliberately cultivated consensus,” he said.
This came after the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said on Friday the Federal Government would submit the list of all participating vendors in the modified School Feeding programme to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Farouq, who disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily media briefing in Abuja, noted that the move was to ensure transparency and accountability in the exercise.
According to the minister, the modified school feeding programme was being funded by the federal government, implemented by states and facilitated by the ministry.
She said the programme was targeted at heads of households, guardians and caregivers of the pupils, already benefiting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Farouq noted that the vendors had been on the programme since inception and they were not new.
She said the ministry had also invited the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to help with the monitoring of events.
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