RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
Lagos State Basic Universal Education Board (LASUBEB) is set to kick-start the distribution of food to primary school pupils at home.
The Chairman of Lagos SUBEB, Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King, who made the disclosure when he visited the warehouse where the food palliatives were kept in Ikeja, noted that the initiative is part of the Presidential directive that the Home Grown School Feeding Programme must continue in spite of school closure.
He explained that the government agencies involved have been working relentlessly for the past few weeks to ensure that the directive is carried out, hence the reason for the monitoring of the exercise by the Board.
“The programme is under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, in collaboration with the Lagos State Government through the Universal Basic Education Board and all stakeholders in the basic education sub-sector”, the Chairman stated.
Allaying fears that the programme might be sabotaged, Alawiye-King maintained that the beneficiaries have been identified and verified, saying “We need to understand that the school feeding programme has been running before now; it is targeted at primary 1-3 pupils in public primary schools. We have gone around using our school vendors and school management board based on available data to identify and verify the households that will benefit from the programme”.
He also gave an assurance that the exercise will be transparent, as international and local organisations are part of the monitoring group involved to ensure that the food palliatives get to the right households, disclosing that over 37,589 homes are being targeted for the pilot scheme.
“202 centres are designated for the distribution of food packages which include 5kg of Rice, 5kg of Beans, 2 Rolls of Sachet Tomato Paste, 500ml of Palm and Groundnut Oil, Salt and 12 Eggs”, Alawiye-King said.
The Special Adviser to the President on National Home Grown School Feeding (NHGSF), Mrs. Titilola Adeyemi-Doro also said that the Federal Government is basically coordinating the process while the State is to take ownership of the Programme because the resources to reach the students are available to the government.
She averred that Lagos SUBEB is taking the lead in the collaboration with all stakeholders in the education sector.
In her contribution, the Board Secretary of LASUBEB, Mrs. Folusho Ajimoti, stated that a series of meetings were held to ensure efficient distribution of the food items, adding that vouchers would soon be given to the various households already identified.
She also emphasised that Board Members, alongside Education Secretaries of each Local Government as well as food vendors, will form part of the distribution team with relevant stakeholders serving as monitoring groups.
Meanwhile, the Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary, Education District 1, Barrister Margaret Titilayo Solarin has commended the outstanding leadership traits demonstrated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the management of the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in the State.
She gave the commendation, on Thursday, in her welcome address delivered at a scheduled webinar for the 14th Annual District Ramadan Lecture with the theme “Coping with COVID-19 Pandemic: The Islamic Perspective”, organised by the Lagos State Education District 1.
According to Mrs. Solarin, the treatment and management of the affected patients in all the isolation centres in Lagos, continuous updates on every development and the distribution of palliative packages as well as food items, including “food kitchens”, to the vulnerable and less privileged will forever remain indelible in the minds of Lagosians.
The TG/PS, while applauding all the frontline workers for their steadfastness, thanked all the corporate bodies and public-spirited individuals for complementing the efforts of the State government in bringing succour to Lagosians amidst the lockdown.
Barrister Solarin, therefore, urged the Muslim faithful to seize the opportunity offered by Ramadan to intensify their acts of charity to others, especially during this period, to further ease the effects of the pandemic on all.
In his sermon, the speaker, Ustaz Ridwan Tosin Onikola, Imam, Federal Sites and Service Scheme, Idimu, Lagos, enjoined everyone to see the outbreak as one of the trials the Holy Quran predicted followers will encounter, urging adherents to remain resolute in faith because nothing happens without the knowledge of the Almighty Allah.
He emphasised the importance of the last ten days of the Ramadan period in which the Almighty Allah specifically commanded Muslims to seek His glory, mercies, favours and blessings through intensified acts of worship according to Quran: 2 Verse 185.
While encouraging everyone to obey all the guidelines and precautionary measures set by the State government and medical experts to curtail the spread of the virus, Onikola maintained that the fight against COVID-19 is a collective responsibility.