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Minister claims govt got addresses of pupils, drove to their homes to feed them

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Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, has said that government drove to homes of school children to feed them as part of covid-19 palliatives.

According to her, the federal government expended N2.4billion on the feeding of School pupils and direct monetary interventions made to vulnerable Nigerians across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

She stated this on Thursday when she was being quizzed by the Senate Committee on Special Duties.

When asked to explain how the school pupils were allegedly fed in their various homes, the Minister said, “We drove to some of their homes based on addresses gathered from their schools and also adopted the template of six person per family and three children in a home.”

This was as the Senate commenced an inquest over the spending of the N32.4 billion allocated to her office for palliatives provisions against the COVID-19 pandemic.

At an interactive session at the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) expressed regret that the Ministry was not doing enough.

“You are not doing enough as far as poverty eradication in the country is concerned.

“The modus operandi being adopted by your Ministry cannot in any way help in fixing the country.

“Humanitarian intervention should be looked at more holistically,” he said.

Read also: I have forgiven those who accused me of hoarding Covid-19 palliatives –Farouq

In his remarks, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Biobarakuma Degi Eremionyo (APC Bayelsa) explained that the paltry amount being distributed is not enough to take most Nigerians out of poverty.

“Giving unemployed people N10,000 or even N20,000 for a month or two, cannot help them out of the poverty-related problems facing them.

“The handouts should be channeled into the creation of employment for the unemployed,” he said.

However, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf (APC Taraba Central), clarified that the initiative is not about poverty eradication but an intervention to cushion against the effects of the pandemic.

In her response, the Minister said that only N2.4billion was released to her Ministry from the N32.4billion earmarked.

She said the N2.4billion was expended on the feeding of School pupils and direct monetary interventions made to vulnerable Nigerians across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Chairman in his closing remarks tasked the minister to ensure the collection of the N30billion balance from the Ministry of Finance and forward to the committee intervention programmes.

The school feeding programme, especially as budgeted for by the federal government during the Covid-19 lockdown period has been criticised by many Nigerians as a corrupt practice. It was unclear how government fed school children who were at home during the period.

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