By Stephen Adeleye.
Mrs Kadijat Karibo, the Unit Head of Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) in Kogi, says the state government has recruited 1800 caterers to handle cooking in the first phase of the programme in the state.
Karibo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the venue of the screening exercise in Lokoja, that a total of 3500 caterers would be recruited, saying the feeding of the pupils would start in May.
She said that the state would employ 3500 indigenous caterers to handle the cooking for over 350,000 pupils in 2100 public schools from primary one to three across the state.
“In the first phase of the recruitment in 2017, out of 3000 caterers we interviewed and screened for health checks, only 1800 were successful while others were filtered out through the health check.
“Today, we are starting the second phase of the screening with about 1000 caterers, but only the successful ones after the health check would be employed.
“We are satisfied with the process, because we are able to filter out those that have health challenges who cannot cook for our children no matter their influences.
“The successful candidates would now be added to the 1800 that we already have on ground in the first phase,” she said.
According to her, the recruitment exercise would be a continuous process as most text messages sent to candidates for interview could not be delivered to them due to poor network in some remote areas.
“Some communities were also flooded during the first phase of the recruitment last year.
“So, as from April 23 to 27, we will dispatch our team into those interior terrain to conduct interviews and screening for the caterers because we want to carry everybody along without marginalization,” Karibo said.
She noted that the programme also had numerous benefits such as increase in children’s enrollment in public schools, and creating more employment in the state.
“We will adopt the farmers also to ensure that what they are selling to us fresh raw food and directly from their farms.
“The programme will also increase family income of our people and also generate revenue for the state through payment of taxes,” she said.
She commended Gov. Yahaya Bello for promptly adopting the social investment programmes and making the necessary provision for infrastructure, fully equipped office and robust staff welfare.
She added: “We appreciate the efforts of our focal person for the Social Investment Programmes in Kogi, Mr Ibrahim Adoga, for his commitment to ensure the success of the investment programmes”.
NAN reports that the school feeding programme is one of the Federal Government Social Investment Programmes aimed to feed children in public schools with a meal per day, from primary one to three.