Put differently, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, unless government invests significantly in getting people out of poverty, and address other critical issues affecting children and other vulnerable groups, the inalienable right to life provided for in the Nigerian Constitution is meaningless.
“It is a victory for a point of view namely that the inalienable right to life confirmed in the Nigerian Constitution is meaningless in a society where large numbers are poor, if government does not invest significantly in getting people out of poverty and address the health and education issues of children and other vulnerable groups”.
Prof. Osinbajo stated at the launching of the strategic implementation plan of the first of its kind National Home-grown School Feeding Programme, one of the 5 social investment schemes of the presidency.
Addressing a gathering of Governors, State Commissioners, representatives of international donors and partners, top Federal Government officials and civil society groups at the State House’s Banquet Hall, the Vice President said the Strategic Plan sets out the partnership arrangement on how federal, state, and local governments are to synergize towards achieving the primary objectives of the School Feeding Programme.
He noted that the plan will only work with the cooperation of Federal, State and Local tiers of governments, while also emphasizing need for the buy-in of the people.XXX Said he: “it is called ‘Home Grown School Feeding’ for the reason that it must be owned by the people for whom it has been designed”.
Speaking on the theme: “Stimulating Socio-Economic Growth Through The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme” at the occasion, Vice President Osinbajo said the Federal Government’s variant of the programme is not just a social welfare scheme which gives handouts to the poor, but “a direct economic benefit to the target groups and the economy as a whole”.
Vice President revealed that the scheme would indeed bring real change to the lives of over 20 million children nationwide, adding it would equally “create the multiplier effect on the local economies in communities where these schools are located by boosting agriculture, entrepreneurship and employment”.
Stating four major benefits of the programme, he said it would: - improve school enrolment and completion and cut current dropout rate estimated at 30% while reducing child labour; - improve child nutrition and health; - increase local agricultural production and; - will create jobs which would invariably lift families over the poverty line into a bright future.
Vice President Osinbajo who spoke about Federal Government’s responsibility to part-fund the scheme stated that it has also secured technical support for the scheme. He praised the development partners, financial institutions educational institutions and civil society groups for their support and assistance.
Partnership For Child Development (PCD), a programme of the UK's Imperial College, London, was particularly commended by the VP, describing the Director of the PCD, Prof. Leslie Drake, "a great friend of Nigeria."
The Vice President while launching the implementation plan also presented the book “Global School Feeding Sourcebook, Lessons from 14 Countries”, produced by the PCD, adding that the book and the PCD has launched the nation into an international school feeding ecosystem.Lessons from Nigeria is one of the highlights drawn from the 14 countries reviewed in the book. He also formally inaugurated the National Coordinating Team of the National Home-grown School Feeding Programme at the event.
The Governor of the State of Osun Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir El 'Rufai also made presentations on their states' on-going school feeding programmes.
Similarly, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and his counterpart from Borno, Kashim Shettima joined the Vice President, the other governors, Prof Drake and the Presidential Special Adviser on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais and together they presented the book and the plan during the event.
Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity)
In the Office of the Vice President
10th June, 2016