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President Muhammadu Buhari, has again dashed the hopes of millions of Nigerians, as his administration has failed to commence the free National Home Grown School Feeding programme at the beginning of the current academic session, in September, as earlier promised.
It could be recalled, that the school feeding programme ‎was formally inaugurated on June 9, 2016, by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as part of the Social Investment Plans of the present administration, for which N500 billion has been budgeted in the 2016 Budget.
President Buhari had in July, through the National ‎Manager of the programme, Abimbola Adesanmi, said the scheme would commence in September, when schools resumed, with 5.5 million pupils across the country.
With hopes very high, as children resumed with all expectation that the Federal Government was going to honour its statement, recent development seems to suggest that the programme is as good as dead.
According to ‎the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, the drop in oil prices, and oil pipelines vandalism by the Niger Delta militants, are responsible for the delay in the commencement of the programme, as planned.
‎The earlier promise, was that the programme would benefit 5.5 million pupils in the first year of its operation, while Adesanmi had explained that the Federal Government had resolved to start the programme with pupils from Primary 1 to 3 at the beginning, and then move to other classes later.

Akande said, “We had to first ensure there is operational readiness in the States where the programme will start. That took some of the time.
‎“The other reason for the delay, had to do with the general drop in revenues occasioned by the drop in oil earnings.
“The economic sabotage and attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta, is also a factor, which at some point, meant Nigeria was losing one million barrels per day of the 2.2 mpd, that had been estimated in the budget.
“But the good news, is that the programme, which has been budgeted for, will take off very soon. Please note that the programme has kicked off in Kaduna State for months now, and for years in Osun State.
“The steering committee, set up for social investments with Presidential oversight, has recently made provision for the programme to kick off very soon”.
Other schemes under the social protection plan include: the Micro-Credit Scheme, Teach Nigeria Scheme, the Youth Employment Agency, Conditional Cash Transfer, and Free Education Scheme for Science Students.

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