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111 sacked over school feeding fraud

No fewer than one hundred and eleven (111) cooks have been sacked for allegedly engaging in fraudulent activities in the federal government’s school feeding programme in Kogi state.

The Kogi State Focal Person of National Social Investment Program (NSIP), Abdulkareem Suleiman, disclosed this in Lokoja at a public hearing held at the Kogi State House of Assembly.

The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) was introduced during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, with the aim of improving the health, enrollment and educational outcomes of public primary school pupils.

Onyekehi, said the Kogi State government had engage 3000 cooks for the programme, adding that some cooks kept on engaging in sharp practices after receiving payment from federal government to prepare meals for the pupil.

“We recommended them for removal from the scheme and we have reported them to the appropriate authority for discipline and punishment. We found out that they received money and they will not prepare meals for our school pupils.

“Some of them are also not doing it in line with the guidelines. All these things, we have our report and we have given appropriate punishment. We have also made arrest of some people who commit fraud in the various local governments concerning other interventions from government to cushion the hardship in our Country.

“We are not taking it likely from anybody. Immediately the agency gets its report, we always swing into action and sanction whoever violates the program or defraud the people of Kogi State.”

Onyekehi, who disclosed that not all schools had been captured in the programme, said the government before now had been feeding 177,000 pupils in Kogi State and the target was to capture all the public primary schools in the state to accommodate all pupils from primary one to three.While noting that the state government last recruited additional over 800 cooks in 2021, the Kogi State Focal Person of NSIP gave reasons why the program was not continued for some time.

“The federal government is carrying out enumeration and revalidation exercise to continue the process. They could not approve the additional cooks yet to capture more schools that will accommodate more pupils that have not benefitted from the program.

“That is one challenge. Another challenge is that, for over a year, we have not done school feeding program.“Why? because of electioneering, change of government and stabilisation of the ministry to continue the program.“In 2020, there was no school feeding program at all because of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2021, we began towards the end of the year. As a result we have been relatively inconsistent in the program.

“We hope that in the Renewed Hope mantra of President Tinubu, we are hoping to hit the ground running and make the program to be more consistent and frequent in a bid to meet the objective of the government.”

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