SPECIAL REPORT: How Buhari administration’s school feeding programme increases pupil enrolment amidst challenges

Anambra children during the feeding programme
Anambra children during the feeding programme

There was an air of excitement among the children as the bell rang signalling the period for their recess. Neatly dressed uniformed women, with aprons gathered around large plastic warmers, dished out food in small bowls in fulfilment of a daily ritual of feeding school children for whom billions of naira have been provided as part of a federal government programme to provide a meal for children in primary schools from classes 1-3.

The day’s menu had rice and stew with banana to go with it. The children, pupils of the Ansarudeen Elementary School in Osogbo, Osun State, stayed quiet as the plates hit the top of their desks. They would not eat until they prayed in chorus, thanking God for providing the meal and praying for those who have nothing to eat.

For most of the children, eating what they consider a good meal every day in school free of charge is fun, compelling them every school day to a place they hitherto considered boring and tiring.

Although school feeding is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria, its revival by the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been highly commended. Its main philosophy is developing the child’s total mental and physical wellbeing through the provision of one rich meal a day. This was part of the campaign promise made by the president and his team while canvassing votes ahead of the 2015 elections.

Despite an initial pussyfooting on the part of the federal government towards fulfilling the promise, the programme eventually got underway in January this year. It commenced in three pilot states – Osun, Anambra and Kaduna – under the supervision of the federal government.

However, Osun had been executing the programme for several years, while Kaduna State started the programme one year earlier than the kick-off by the federal government.

The initiative, known as the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSF, is projected to provide 1.14 million jobs across the country, with the engagement of community women as cooks. It is also expected to boost food production and stimulate an investment worth N980 million, annually.

Tagged the “Buhari food for the children,” the programme, when fully operational, is expected to cover no fewer than 10 million primary school pupils from classes 1-3, while another five million pupils in primaries 4-6 would be covered by state governments through a counterpart funding arrangement.

Figures from the states however revealed that the number of pupils is on the increase due to enrolments and might double in the next two sessions with the current rate of increase.

For instance, Kaduna State witnessed an increase of 400,000 pupils just after one session of operating school feeding.

Although in 2016, the Office of the Vice President announced that N93.1 billion from the budget had been set aside to take care of the feeding programme, actual disbursement commenced in earnest in January 2017.

Earlier in the year, the government said it had released N375,434, 870 to pay 7,909 cooks in five states for the feeding of a total of 677,476 primary school pupils. The states were Anambra, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ebonyi.

However, by the end of April 2017, Zamfara and Enugu commenced the programme, therefore bringing the number of states to seven. Altogether, about 8,587 schools are currently involved in the programme while 11,847 cooks have been employed.

The federal government has so far disbursed about N2 billion to participating states for the programme and other states like Delta are gearing to join the initiative.

However, PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed that besides Osun and Kaduna states, other states involved only satisfied themselves with the federal provisions made for feeding primaries 1-3, while the pupils in other classes were left unattended to.

The federal government’s feeding rate per child is N70. The cooks have grappled with the amount since the recession set in. Findings from three states – Osun, Anambra and Kaduna – showed that the general quality and quantity of the food served have been affected by the current economic downturn.

The food vendors contracted to feed the children are calling for an increase in the amount earmarked for each child to at least N100, to enable them provide enough and quality food for the children.

The vision of the programme is to reach all primary school pupils, but at the moment only about 50 per cent of the target population is benefiting from it. Many states are currently facing low revenues resulting in the backlog of unpaid workers’ salaries. As a result, the federal government risks going it all alone.

Also, the head teachers in schools operating nurseries are grappling with the problem of weeping children who think they were wrongly excluded from the scheme. A good number of them are noticed at every break time hanging by the windows of their older colleagues, seeking to be part of the eating ‘party.’

With the programme now stimulating increased enrolments in public schools and the hiking of food prices, including the call to include other categories of children, the funding profile is expected to double in months ahead as the government works to keep the programme afloat.

OSUN FOOD VENDORS ASK FOR MORE 

The Osun School Feeding Programme stands out as the forerunner to the federal government’s intervention. The state first introduced the scheme in 2006 with about 2,500 pupils. The Programme Officer, Olubunmi Ayoola, said that at the time, the rate was N30 per pupil.

“Then the menu was not as rich as what we have now,” she told PREMIUM TIMES in Osogbo.

The programme was relaunched on April 30, 2012, with an increase in the funding. At the moment, a total of 3,007 food vendors are involved in cooking and serving food at the elementary schools in the state. The state began with the feeding of pupils from primaries 1-3, however those in grade 4 have now been included.

What it means is that while the federal government programme covers pupils from primary 1-3, Osun provides for one additional class, which was part of its arrangement before the intervention.

Before the intervention of the federal government, the programme was funded by the local and state governments on a 60-40 basis. The local governments were paying more because primary education constitutionally falls within their purview.

The food items approved by the Osun government for the menu list include rice, beans, bread, corn food, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs vegetables and fruits.

Mrs. Ayoola confirmed that before the advent of the Buhari school feeding scheme, Osun paid N65 per pupil, but with the intervention of the federal government, the amount has risen to N70.  As at March 2017, the state government was yet to begin the implementation of N70 approved by the federal government.

PREMIUM TIMES findings showed that what gets to the caterers is N41 per pupil.

According to Mrs. Ayoola, the balance goes to the “contractors” who supply the beef, chicken and fish used by the food vendors. With the N70 per pupil fee, the food vendors are expected to have a slight increase to N42.5k per pupil.

As part of its contribution to the scheme, the government trained the food vendors on hygiene, gave them aprons, assisted them in acquiring decent cooking materials and supports them with N4,000 each as transport allowance.

Our investigation also showed that Osun started receiving funds on the scheme from the federal government on January 23 and had received N466.3 million in four tranches by April.

The funds are paid fortnightly and directly to the accounts of the food vendors and the contractors by the federal government.

The first payment for the first week was N92,425,450; the second tranche was N98,474,700; the third payment was N78,464,884 and the fourth was N98,474,400.

OSUN SCHOOLS FEEDING

PREMIUM TIMES visited some of the primary (elementary) schools to observe the feeding process. The head teachers expressed satisfaction with the quality of food served by the vendors and lauded their compliance with the standards set by the state government. But a common refrain was the complaints by the vendors of the need for an increase in the rate per child from N70 to about N100.

Inspectors were appointed to check the food quality before they are served, while the vendors were provided with a uniform set of plates for serving the children.

The Head Mistress at the Ansarudeen Elementary School, Osogbo, Faloni Sola, told this newspaper that some of the food vendors had laid complaints of the price of food stuff in the market, which is affecting their ability to deliver the quality of food required.

The leader of the caterers at the school, Ganiyat Salau, said an increase in the amount given for each pupil, which is N41, would be appreciated to enable her and her colleagues do better.

Vendors at the African Church Elementary School, Oke-Ila, Irepodun Local Government Area and Union Baptist Government Elementary School, all in Osogbo, also expressed dissatisfaction with the amount given to them. They said they would prefer an increase in the amount received and the right to purchase their fish and beef directly rather than receiving them from suppliers.

That was also the situation at A.U.D Erin Elementary School, Osun, Irepodun LGA, where the vendors revealed that they had not received fish and beef or chicken from the suppliers for a while because of the difficulties posed by the channels of receiving the items.

“They were supposed to give us chicken and fish, but we have not received it for some time now, and the last time the one they brought was very bad, we could not use it for our cooking,” one of the vendors told PREMIUM TIMES.

They also said complaints had been lodged at the appropriate quarters to rectify the problems, although it was taking too much time to rectify the problem.

Omowumi Fakayode, head of the vendors at the African Church Elementary School, said chicken and fish were no longer regularly supplied by the contractors because of the state of things.

“We need the money increased to N100. We need enough fish. We have complained to the Head of Planning and she promised to do something about it,” she said.

“Sometimes pupils eat without meat on their food. Eggs are no longer served. It has been stopped.”

She also revealed that some parents bring their pupils without given them breakfast, hoping the children would eat in school.

“We often hear them saying they have stomach pain and when asked what was the matter, they would say their parents did not give them breakfast,’ Ms. Fakayode said.

A grade 4 pupil of the school, Sadiat, who spoke to this newspaper after a meal, said she would want the government to continue the programme because it had relieved her parents and improved their health. She said the food served to them was nutritionally balanced.

“We hope that this will continue because we are happy about it. We feed well and we don’t have to spend money to buy food and we don’t have to bring food from home to school,” she said.

But Mrs. Ayoola, the program officer, believes that N70 was good enough at the start of the feeding programme, noting that it was better than what obtained hitherto. She said it was the reason the food vendors were linked with cooperatives so they could buy food items in bulk and at cheaper rates.

“The programme is popular among parents and vendors alike. Some of the vendors and farmers are graduates without jobs before they were hired and now they have something doing,” she said.

“The children are also enthusiastic, we even hear it being said jokingly that some pupils don’t want to be promoted from the elementary schools just to keep eating the meals.”

But a parent criticised the programme, saying although food was provided for the children, the management of the programme did not give room for transparency.

Emmanuel Ogunyemi, who is also a teacher, suggested that the school feeding programme should be managed by a separate agency populated by private individuals, rather than a department of government.

“A situation where the government says it spent N1billion and you don’t have any way of verifying that claim is a serious problem of the feeding programme which can be resolved by have a separate agency run by private individuals who would be supervised by the government,” he said.

“We have a problem where most vendors were selected based on political consideration rather than competence.”

NURSERY PUPILS CRY FOR FOOD IN ANAMBRA 

The Anambra school feeding programme started in December 2016. Although the federal government envisaged the participation of 937 cooks to feed 96,489 pupils, the state government has, at the moment, 1,065 caterers handling a far more number than earlier envisaged by the government.

Officials say the figure is steadily on the increase and they were yet to ascertain the current figure.

Included in the feeding menu are rice, beans, yam porridge, plantain, Okpa, moi moi with eggs, and vegetables. Although beef and chicken are not added in the menu, it was gathered that “dried fish” were used to cook the meals to enrich the quality and pieces of “iced fish” are served only with rice.

 Anambra children during the feeding programme
Anambra children during the feeding programme

The vendors received training on hygiene and the standard requirements in executing the programme before the commencement.

Nearly all the schools visited had identical problem of the exclusion of the nursery classes from the feeding programme.

At Igodima, St. Mary’s, Amamife and St. Peter’s Primary Schools in Awka, head teachers complained that children from the nursery classes insist they partake of the feeding, joining the benefitting classes during break time.

“Sometimes they come to me and start crying that they were hungry and should be given food when they see the other benefiting children being served food,” Edith, one of the head teachers, told PREMIUM TIMES.

“I sometimes had to appeal to the other pupils to share with them so they can stop crying.

“So, the real issue is that the government should include the lower categories and nursery children to make it more inclusive.”

Some of the kids said they were happy to have to be fed in school daily. They also said they liked the food.

A primary three pupil, Chinyelo Okafor of the Amamife Primary School, said she would want the government to continue with programme and include other classes in the feeding.

“The food is good and our parents are not spending money again to buy us food in the school,” she said.

When PREMIUM TIMES visited some of the schools as the second term drew to a close, the feeding had stopped two weeks to vacation.

The vendors who spoke to our reporter, said payments did not come as expected and so there was no way feeding could take place.

One of the vendors, who gave her name simply as Blessing, said payments to the caterers had been faltering toward the end of the second term. She lamented the development, saying it was worrisome.

She also said there was a need to scale up the pricing of a meal for the children, as the N70 cost was unrealistic.

“You know the situation of things in the market right now. When the programme started, we did not know that the price from food in the market will become so high,” Blessing said.

“If they can increase it, we will be able to provide the kind of food that will be enough for the children.”

Chinwe Iwuchukwu, the coordinator of the programme in the state and the Focal Person for the Anambra School Feeding Programme, said the home-grown school feeding programme had stimulated increase in enrolment in the primary schools and this has in turn stretched logistics, putting more pressure on school facilities currently available.

“This means that we will need more teachers, more classrooms and more seats and desks for use in the schools and this is going to cost a lot of money,” she said.

Ms. Iwuchukwu, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Donor Agencies, stated that with the increase in the number of the pupils, whose current figure is yet to be officially ascertained, more caterers would need to be hired and this would also mean an increase in the funding from the federal government.

By the end of March, 2017, Anambra state had received over N200 million from the federal government in the prosecution of the scheme. Ms. Iwuchukwu said the funds were paid directly to the caterers through their respective bank accounts.

However, the coordinator explained that there were issues of BVN with some of the caterers which made it impossible for their accounts to be credited, noting that the issues would be rectified before resumption for third term in May.

On the inclusion of the nursery classes, she said the government was thinking about it, and would do so once funding issues were straightened out.

“It is our pan to include all the children, we are making plans and once we have the backup we will include all others,” she added.

On the complaints by vendors and their call for an increase in the amount for feeding a child, Ms. Iwuchukwu said the state has no power to change the price.

“For now, we cannot change the amount, this is because it is a federal government programme,” she said.

Ignatius Onuora, a parent, lauded the federal government’s feeding programme. His concern however is the need to include all the school children, rather than feeding only a few of them.

“If they (government) really want to do this thing, they should bring every child on board, that is when the impact will be much felt,” he said.

“They cannot say they don’t have the money, if you consider what is happening in the country today and the amount of money available to be stolen, you will know that if these children are well fed in schools, it will be a way of contributing to the development of their future.”

EARLY START, QUICK ENDING IN KADUNA

The All School Feeding Programme of Kaduna State, as its name implies, includes all children from the “Early Years” category or what is normally called the Nursery, as well as pupils in Primaries 1-6.

After running the programme for 36 weeks, the Kaduna State Government suspended it, blaming the federal government for failing to meet its own part of the bargain, which is to provide part of the funds for the programme.

The state government claimed it spent a total of N9.5 billion in running its school feeding programme, with a monthly cost of N1.1 billion during the period.

After reconciliation with the Office of the Vice President, which coordinates the programme, a total sum of N6.8 billion was arrived at as what was spent by the state government on feeding primaries 1-3, the categories covered by the federal government’s initiative.

While announcing the suspension of the feeding programme in January, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said his government was feeding 1.8 million pupils daily, but had to stop the programme because the Office of the Vice President was yet to reimburse the state with the sum spent so far.

He also said that the programme would not commence until a review was done and the reimbursement was made.

However, during enquiry by PREMIUM TIMES, state officials confirmed that a part of the money had been paid.

“We have received half of that amount as refund from the federal government, that is N3.4billion, we are expecting that the rest will be paid soon before the programme is restarted in the state,” the Permanent Secretary, Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Adamu Mohammed Mansur, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Findings showed that the state is gearing for even an increased number of children in the coming session, having witnessed about 400,000 more registered children in the beginning of the current session after the school feeding programme started.

It was gathered that at the start of the session, the nursery and primary schools had a total of 1.4 million children. Before the programme was suspended in January this year, the number had risen to 1.8 million from about 4,284 schools.

With the expected increase, the state government made a budget of N14 billion provision for the programme in its N215 billion 2017 Budget.

The state also had a total of 13,600 caterers, who helped to execute the cooking and feeding of the pupils, but has now increased that number of the food vendors to 20,000 ahead of the plans to restart the exercise. This is even as their training has also been scheduled.

The focal person in the state’s food programme, John Gora, said the vendors were currently undergoing screening at the bank in charge, FCMB Plc., while the process of verifying their BVN was also ongoing.

“Once all that is concluded and with the expected payments made, we should be ready to resume the exercise, maybe in a week or two,” Mr. Gora said.

KADUNA VENDORS AND FEEDING COST

The vendors were initially enthusiastic about their participation in the programme. They saw it as a rare privilege to be gainfully employed at a time when the nation was facing hard times. The government then fixed the sum of N50 for feeding a pupil per day.

This newspaper learnt that the payments were made through cooperatives to the vendors who collect the money in cash. They received the payments every Thursday or Friday to enable them prepare for the following week. They soon realised that the amount was insufficient to provide the quality of food demanded by the government. The price of goods in the market had skyrocketed; a mild agitation ensued leading to an upward review by the state government. Shortly before the exercise was put on hold, food vendors got N70 as fee per pupil.

A vendor, who would not want to be named because of fear of reprimand, said the N50 was grossly inadequate at the time for a meal per child.

“To say the fact, how can you give N50 for a meal in the present hardship and the cost of food in the market? We are happy that they saw reasons to increase it especially now that the federal government has intervened,” she said.

“And you know we are still facing high cost of food in the market and what we get is even something we are managing, at least it is better than nothing.”

The vendors will now key into the federal government’s plan of receiving the monies directly from the Office of the Vice President through their personal accounts.

Mr. Mansur, however, noted that Kaduna State would prefer that the federal government pays the funds through the state government rather than paying directly to the vendors.

“The federal government should have confidence in the states, because they are the ones who will monitor the effectiveness of the programme,” he said.

According to Mr. Mansur, the states would certainly be responsible in ensuring that their pupils are well fed and provided for, knowing that Kaduna State has its own programme to feed the school children.

Despite the initial excitement, the pupils have waited in vain for six months for the return of the meals. They now go to school every school day with an uncertain expectation, as no one is telling them when the government will make good its promise to provide the food that it believes would develop their brains and make them grow well.

“I don’t know when they will start bringing food to us again,” a female pupil encountered by our correspondent at LEA Primary School, Maiduguri Road, said. “I believe it will return, but I don’t know when.”

She also explained that they (pupils) have returned to the old ways of taking money from their parents to buy snacks in school and in some cases, bringing their meals from home.

A parent, who gave his name as Ibrahim, told PREMIUM TIMES that there was a need to resume the school feeding if the government has the money to do so.

“Feeding children in school every day is a very good thing for us and we hope it will continue because the relief we get as parents of children in public schools,” Ibrahim said.

He, however, advised the government to stop the programme completely if it has no money to fund it instead of ridiculing itself.

“But there is really no need to start what you cannot finish. If the government realises that it cannot do it, then it should focus on other things that matter to the people that it can effectively execute.”

VICE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE CLARIFIES

The Office of the Vice President which coordinates the school feeding expressed its preparedness to tackle the funding challenges arising from the implementation of the programmers.

It said it was aware of the huge financial burden involved and was making plans to address other difficulties noticed during the initial roll out.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media, Laolu Akande, told PREMIUM TIMES that it was a remarkable achievement on the part of the federal government to have been able to provide the funding for the programme in spite of the current recession.

He, however, ruled out any immediate expansion of the coverage of the programme, saying the government would stick to funding the feeding of pupils from primaries 1-3 because of the huge cost involved in including other classes.

“Resources are limited. That we are able to come up with this kind of money is really commendable, but it is because we are really committed to executing this programme,” Mr. Akande said.

“We will meet the challenges in terms of keeping the programme going, but what we are able to do for now is primary 1-3.”

On the delay in reimbursing Kaduna State, he said arrangements were underway to fully reimburse the state. He commended the state for starting the programme much earlier before the official roll out. He assured that whatever states had expended would be refunded to them.

Mr. Akande also said there is no possibility of increasing the price of feeding each child, which currently stands at N70 per pupil, saying it took the collaboration and inputs from all stakeholders before reaching the pricing of the meals. He said to change that now would not be possible.

According to him, the vendors were not supposed to go to the open market to purchase the food items, but were expected to be linked up with local food producers who would sell to them directly in bulk at cheaper rates to enable them deliver on the price agreed.

The vice president’s spokesperson, however, admitted that the increased enrolment in schools following the start of the school feeding exercise would raise the expenses of government.

“The increased school enrolment is a good thing, we expected that. We expect that the federal, state and local governments will rise to the challenge,” he said. “Expenses will rise certainly, but we will meet the challenge.”

This article is a product of a partnership between PREMIUM TIMES and #Buharimeter to fact-check the federal government’s school feeding programme.

#Buharimeter is an initiative of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the Department for International Department (DFID).


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  • Kamaluddeen Hammanjoda

    What a new governance? Hmmm… Abraham Lincoln “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (1863)

    • walexi

      @kamaluddeenhammanjoda:disqus

      THE NEXT STORY we expect to read is how the devaluation of the Naira has increased Nigerians’ wealth;
      or how the last increase in petrol price to 145 Naira boosted productivity nationwide. I never go. I dey come!

  • Walex

    @Kamaluddeen Hammanjoda:disqus,

    THE NEXT STORY we expect to read is how the devaluation of the Naira has increased Nigerians’ wealth;
    or how the last increase in petrol price to 145 Naira boosted productivity nationwide. I never go. I dey come!

    • Amir

      Stop wailing, it’s not late to enrol back in school at least for the free feeding. My observation is that your education did not equip you with useful knowledge. This is how to spend public money not by converting our foreign reserves into the wife of the president account.

      • Pointsblank

        Amir:

        President Muhammadu Buhari is full of frauds, lies, deceit, crap, dishonesty and perjuries.

        Buhari has no shame, no school certificate, no reputation for honesty; no sense, no wisdom.

    • Abey

      @kamaluddeenhammanjoda:disqus

      You well so? What was the promise Buhari gave Nigerians?
      He promised to provide free meal to every primary school pupil in Nigeria.
      So he now crookedly picked only three or four states and called photographers to deceive
      the people as if he has delivered on campaign pledge. Whereas n this school feeding alone,
      he has not delivered 2% because he has further crookedly picked only Primary one to three
      in just four states. What sort of criminal government is this for God’s sake? Where is honesty?

      • ‘Kanmi O.

        @disqus_EkZWB7P0Qm:disqus

        IS THIS FREE MEAL STATE-WIDE IN ALL THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN KADUNA AND OSHUN STATES?

        I KNOW WHY I AM ASKING THIS QUESTION BECAUSE FOOD IS NOT SERVED IN INTERIOR SCHOOLS.

  • Gary

    If sustained beyond mere political gimmicks to win votes, this program might become the game-changer to the problem of mass illiteracy, hunger and poverty across the country.
    No poor parent will keep their kids from free food at school and instead send them to Almajiri teachers to learn to beg on the streets.
    The challenge now is the sustainability of the cost of feeding pupils in Nigeria. The states have to reorder priorities and even consider a school tax for the feeding of pupils. It is a win-win for everyone – farmers, caterers and raising literacy and kids who are guaranteed one good meal a day at school.
    Imagine if kids could look forward to bread and tea to start the day at school and then school lunch? WE might need the Police to stop a stampede by parents scrambling to enroll their children.
    Better to invest in the children than looting our money to buy private jets and properties in London and Dubai.

    • How Kontri?

      @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus

      This program cannot work. It will collapse within this year. It was not planned by Buhari.
      Buhari made no plans for any policy. Just wanted to rule as birthright and now ruined Nigeria.
      Kaduna and Oshun states had their feeding program well before Buhari came and joined them.

      In those two states it is fraud to call it BUHARI SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM – it is not Buhari’s.
      Buhari came into office with an empty-head and he drove Nigeria into big recession in one year.
      Anyone looking for what to support should support the fight against ISIS in Syria – Buhari is not it.

      • ‘Konko Below’

        MUHAMADU BUHARI IS NOT SO MUCH A SICK PRESIDENT AS A FAILED PRESIDENT

        WHO INVITED NIGERIANS TO TRUST HIM TO DELIVER CHANGE FOR THE BETTER

        BUT WHO’S now ENDED UP MAKING NIGERIA FAR MUCH WORSE THAN HE MET IT.

        • How Kontri?

          @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus

          A local tomato paste plant – ERISCO FOOD – closed down
          in November 2016 and sacked thousands of workers. Erisco ran on generators
          and could not compete with the Chinese exporters of tomato paste at less unit
          price. In January this year, DANGOTE company closed down its own tomato paste
          processing plant in Kano as impossible to run. Aliko Dangote, who is reputed as
          Africa’s richest man, said he too couldn’t access foreign exchange to buy his
          factory’s production inputs.

          Buhari’s daft Energy Minister Raji Fashola has received over 400 billion Naira
          since resuming in 2015. Alas, Raji Fashola at his best supplies zero megawatts
          electricity till today to put Nigeria in utter darkness. With no electricity supplied
          any start-up business in Nigeria is dead on arrival, because of the high cost of
          petrol and diesel.

          • Gary

            I agree and share your outrage at head in the sand official response to the unresolved problem of electric power and the hare-brained privatization of a sector crucial to the dream of industrialization. This country is going nowhere in building an economy or competitive production for employment until the issue of electricity is addressed.

            But let that not stop us from addressing other areas of national life. Life juvenile poverty, hunger and education.
            We have too many thieves and morons who run for office from a sense of entitlement and zoning; rather than a vision of advancing society.

          • How Kontri?

            @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus

            YOU ARE A WISE HEAD WITH GREAT POTENTIALS TO LEAD A COUNTRY ON THE MERITS
            OF YOUR JUDGMENT CALL AND YOUR DEMONSTRATED ABILITY TO SUSTAIN YOUR LOGIC.

          • Gary

            Thanks. I’m a minority, too educated and principled to keep the company of the morons and thieves who largely populate Nigerian politics.

            That’s three strikes against folks like me and I’m sure the feeling is mutual from the other side. They don’t want my type looking over their shoulders and forcing them to think rather than rob and oppress our people.
            So it’s better that we stay at a safe distance from their fraternity but continue to push them into thinking and doing right by our people. And educate the people to elect better representatives into all tiers of government.

        • Mufu Ola

          Ok. You’ve assessed Buhari. Can u please assess your hero Jonathan for us,Mr entertainer.

      • Gary

        Quite frankly, I don’t care what they call it or who gets credit for starting the program. The taste of the pudding is, literally in this case, in the eating.

        The program can be sustained if the political will and planning goes into it. There’s money to fund or subsidize pilgrimages and a thousand other things that should not involve government. Peter Obi has demonstrated how to run a thrifty government and Anambra State is the better for it today. Compare him to the meathead in Zamfara State who blamed his criminal negligence in a Meningitis outbreak that has killed hundreds of his residents as punishment from Allah for their sin of fornication.

        Public policy is all about prioritizing programs and allocation of resources. If Nigeria decides to make a policy of feeding its school children, then it will figure out the allocation of the needed resources to achieve it. Rauf Aregbesola did that in Osun State, as you argue. He chose to feed school pupils and build infrastructure but could not pay public sector workers their full salaries, if at all. That was his priority and the Osun people apparently agreed with him since they did revolt but re-elected him for a second term.
        In the US, all public school pupils and students who live more than a half mile from school are entitled to free busing to and from school. Those from low-income homes are entitled to free breakfast and lunch at school. That is funded by local taxes and federal grants to give every American child a level start at education.
        Yes, the US has built an economy that can sustain its social programs. And we can do same with intelligent and visionary leadership in Nigeria. All it takes is critical-thinking and problem-solving skills we learn by getting a good education.

      • Frank Bassey

        Well elucidated. You are on point.

    • Dawood

      This is commendable. If this was the PDP, they’d be spending the monies on fancy houses in America and England, European prostitutes, fancy cars, private jets, and foreign banks.

  • VIVA

    @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus; Nowadays,
    the masses in northern Nigeria are stoning APC politicians on sight and
    wounding a few in brewing revolutionary anger. As poverty deepens under the
    Buhari daft government more emergency wards will be needed for injured
    politicians. A revolution is brewing in Nigeria where wealth has a bad odour as
    the proof of theft, and, of insane treasury looting. Stealing is the problem
    with Nigeria – where the country’s government officials are wholly smelly
    thieves and criminals. Foreign analysts project there’ll soon be targeted
    assassinations of these rogue politicians and their families in Nigeria.

    • No-Comment

      “Some apologists of All Progressive Congress (APC) who have come to accept the fact that
      voting for Buhari was a colossal mistake are quick to alleviate the guilt on their conscience by
      saying that they did not have a better choice between President Mohamadu Buhari (PMB)
      and former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. But this is smartness by half.

      They would not have had to choose between PMB and GEJ if they had voted their conscience
      during the primaries and not kowtow to the vagaries of mercantilist politicking. Even then, when
      one hears the kind of justifications being put forward for putting a man who did not graduate
      High School in charge of a country like Nigeria, one wonders a lot of things. A man who would
      be hard put to get a job as a gate-man was put in charge of the biggest economy in Africa.
      And we are all witnesses to the result of such an aberration”.

      ………………Remi Oyeyemi

      [May 3rd, 2017]

  • MUHAMMAD AHMAD

    Gradually we shall reach the promised land insha Allah. May Allah continue to heal us Ameen

    • Arewa Cries

      @disqus_1kaIwmDc0H:disqus

      “I sympathise with Nigerians for voting Buhari. We have a president who doesn’t have a friend outside the North
      and that’s a tragedy. As I am talking to you, I am convinced that President Buhari’s presidency is dead.
      He may be physically alive and I wish him good health, but as far as governance is concerned,
      his presidency is dead and nothing can be done to resuscitate it. A presidency can be alive
      in terms of a leader, but in terms of programmes and achievements it can be dead and
      historically forgotten. There is going to be an election in 2019 and if Buhari were to
      be in good health and contest, I am sure he will lose and if he attempts to rig
      the election, there will be violence in this country.”

      …………..Dr. Junaid Muhammed

      (KANO, March 5th, 2017)

  • Frank Bassey

    This is misplaced priority and misleading adventure. P/T will do us the favour of determining the impact of this project on the

    • As I See Am

      @disqus_EkZWB7P0Qm:disqus

      ……….Well, I want to see it this way. It is kidnapping…..You know why?…..I will tell you……
      When Boko Haram captured Chibok students….Boko Haram was feeding them too……
      ….What I am saying is that kidnappers are people who cause sorrow to parents……
      …………..but while causing sorrow, the kidnappers feed the kidnapped pupils…..
      ………If you serve meal to pupils, and refuse to pay salaries to parents, it’s like kidnapping……

      • Bleeding heart

        @disqus_1kaIwmDc0H:disqus

        My heart
        and prayers are with Muhamadu Buhari at this time. He’ll be do for nationwide
        assessment tomorrow as his mid-term report. I sense that his media team is
        running around to say something but can’t quite articulate anything Muhamadu
        Buhari began and completed well all by himself in the two years he’s spent or
        perhaps wasted so far. This is a hard place to be in at mid-term with no
        concrete result on anything, as Boko Haram fans out more deadly in guerrilla
        attacks killing tens of innocent Nigerians and sacking whole villages in
        north-east Nigeria. The Nigerian economy is prostrate and comatose; retrenchment
        is soaring past the five million mark, as a result of worsening electricity
        supply and reduced demand for goods and services by an impoverished populace
        living in darkness and in danger as law and order has consequently broken down
        in Nigeria under pressure from violent crimes for individual survival amid the national
        rout.

        • Laolu

          Bleeding Heart,

          Look here, my man. Stop using Queens English to make Nigeria’s tragedy look like comedy.
          First of all, do you know what Buhari’s 62% devaluation of the Naira means in practical terms?
          It means that your ten thousand Naira savings becomes four thousand Naira only. Now, do you
          know what 17.2% inflation means? It means that average prices of goods and services in
          Nigeria increase at 17% every month.

          So, the combination of devaluation and inflation means that your savings will become toilet roll
          if you do not spend your money quickly. And what happens after you spend your money quickly?
          You become as broke as a church rat, because your next income of the same figure will buy less
          of the goods you bought when you spent the same amount last month to quickly spend your cash.

          At all events you will continue to need more Naira notes every month to buy the same quantity of goods. Can you now see how Buhari inflicted severe poverty on honest Nigerians outside
          government with no access to steal the treasury?

          • Sir Demo

            You are so so ignorant. Ask the farmers if they want naira to appreciate or traders in Aba exporting items overseas. A weak currency boost export while discouraging imports. Our main foreign earners is priced in dollar and hence bring more Naira as its value falls. Also, Nigerians in diaspora keep repatriating more dollars home becos of the low value.

        • Ameen

          MAY GOD SAVE NIGERIA FROM THE TERRIBLE INFESTATION OF APC PARTY OFFICIALS!!

    • Sarah Ebun

      Madonna University, Okija 2017/18 ADMISSION FORM, PGD (MASTERS, MPHIL, PHD) FORM, NURSING FORM, DIRECT-ENTRY FORM, DIPLOMA FORM, IJMB FORM IS STILL ON SALE, FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PURCHASE OF THE FORM CALL DR. MATHEW ON 08130193730.

    • Sir Demo

      Ask your governor to join or keep quiet!

  • JasV

    Good start FGN, good analysis, good coverage PT. When we had US$ flowing through the bellies and asses of these bastards and bitches they never thought of doing any good with it. Keep up the good work

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria,represents the good and aspiration of the type of pro-people government that cares for the citizenry.Look at the school feeding program which is positively impacting the citizenry, as parents are been encouraged to registered their children as those pupils would be fed good nourish food in their schools.President Muhammadu Buhari, too is receiving spiritual healing with the adequate medical attention and treatment he is receiving in London,UK. The president appears more healthy in outlook.He is truly looking more energetic and healthy.
    @ Dr Muhammed Junaid: You sounds like a blind-mice who lacks common-sense to truly assess the performance of the policies of president Muhammadu Buhari,s led government. What is your own contribution to tackle the numerous chronic problems besetting Nigeria? School feeding program is an exceptionally great program that ensure children from impoverished homes are well fed in Nigerian schools to enable them develop normal cognitive brain to excel in the school programs.

  • Ayinde

    Propaganda arrangee news item

  • Enemona

    Good one. Progress, slowly but surely.

  • Sir Demo

    Looking at the classrooms in Osun, Kaduna and Anambra states primary schools, I can only say Aregbesola is a very resourceful leader.

  • Wilfred Bankole Ademokun

    Please, what was the reaction from the governor of Ekiti state Peroo A. Fayose [GOVERNOR EMERITUS] , With the support coming from the Federal Government his campaign promise [STOMACH INFRASTRUCTURE] is having positive impact on the children, SAI BUHARI SAI BABA. A.P.C. ELERIN PROGRESS.