The Federal Government on Tuesday said that it has served no fewer than 246.4 million meals to primary school pupils across 20 states under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) to encourage children enrolment in schools.
The Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, listed this as part of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to ensuring that the structural conditions that make violent extremism to thrive in the country are dismantled.
The Minister, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the public presentation of the ‘Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’, identified such structural conditions to include unemployment, poverty, lack of education, corruption, and other social-economic factors.
He said the Federal Government has embarked on developmental programmes as part of efforts to dismantle the conditions that feed into violent extremism.
“For example, the Anchors Borrowers programme has created over 6.3 million jobs for farmers through rice farming. Equally significant, the Federal government has served no fewer than 246.4 million meals to Primary school pupils across 20 States under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) to encourage children enrolment in schools.
“According to a widely reported recent survey, no fewer than 10.27 million children have been enrolled in public primary schools in the North West and North Central Zones of the country in the last one year, representing an increase of 20 per cent in some of the states. This was attributed largely to the school feeding programme. Development programmes like the school feeding scheme are at the heart our effort to prevent violent extremism,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He also said the N-Power programme of the Federal Government has engaged and deployed over 200,000 young Nigerians to public primary schools, primary healthcare centre, and in agriculture development project centres across local government areas in the country, adding, that ”This is with a view to helping build community resilience against violent extremist group. That number is set to increase by 300,000 this year.”
The minister said the government is also taking a bold step to address the issue of recharging the Lake Chad Basin, which has shrunk by 90 per cent between 1963 and now, thereby impacting negatively on the livelihood of the people that depended on it for farming activities.
He said that as part of its soft approach in tackling security challenges, the administration is equally engaging in dialogue with different key stakeholders in order to find possible and lasting solutions to the issue of herder-farmer conflicts, which is one of the security challenges confronting the nation.
While applauding the critical role the media is playing on the fight against terrorism, the minister encouraged the media to sustain the momentum and deny extremist groups the oxygen of publicity which they badly crave.
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