OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has resolved to probe the National Home School Feeding Programme and directed implementers to furnish it with a comprehensive list of the over 9 million children said to have benefited from the programme.
The House Committee on Public Accounts has accordingly summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Director General (DG) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to appear before it and tender records of payment to the agency and details of the children benefiting from the programme.
The Chairman of the Committee Mr. Oluwole Oke (PDP, Osun) directed the Special Assistant to the President on the Home School Feeding Programme, Mr. Dotun Adebayo, to also furnish the Committee with details of the cooks, location of the benefiting schools as well as the over 9 million children in 84,000 schools across the country that have benefited from the programme.
Adebayo however failed to provide the House with details of the beneficiaries of the programme saying the list of children benefiting from the programme was drawn up by the States under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Federal and State governments.
According to Mr. Adebayo, “the list drawn up is always verified by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) who carry out a head count for the agency, saying “we have details of the schools, but particulars of the benefiting children is with the states. We don’t have the details because it is part of the MoU we signed with the states.”
He further explained that “the programme is designed to feed children for 20 days in a month, and so far, about 34 States and the FCT are participating in the programme with Kwara and Bayelsa yet to be enrolled into it”.
He also said “two states have not met the criteria set for participating in the programme, which include a commitment from the state government, adding that only States that have committed to the success of the programme are currently benefiting from it”.
While responding to a question on alleged shortchanging of the States , he said “we can’t pay money outside the framework of the programme. Any state that did not meet the requirement will be left out of the programme. Presently, we budget N70 per child.
“It is not our intention to exempt any state from the programme. Like I said, communication has been made to those State governments over the years on the programme and no state is left out.”
The Chairman of the Committee in his final remarks faulted the procurement processes being adopted by the agency which he said was contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
The House also directed National Coordinator of the N-Power programme to provide details on a State by State basis of beneficiaries of the programme since it’s inception in 2016.