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FG reviews National school Feeding program upwards, now N100 per plate

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**Humanitarian Ministry moves to build 60 Model School Kitchens

The Federal Government has reviewed upward the National Home Grown School Feeding Program meals from N70 to N100 per plate per child.


The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq made the disclosure at the Commemoration of the 7th Africa School Feeding Day held in at Transcorp Hilton Abuja on Tuesday.
The special adviser to the minister on media Nneka Ikem Anibeze in a statement indicated that Umar Farouq was full of gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the increment.
She added that it came at a time when all hands were on deck to ensure that all public primary school pupils 1-3 are enrolled in the program.

“I will like to seize the opportunity to commend His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the recent approval granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the upward review of the daily cost of feeding from N70 to N100 per meal per child, which comes along with increased monitoring and tighter regulations. “This is coming at a time when there is an urgent need to ensure that our children are not left behind in the development process, especially in the wake of the devastation caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic to the stability of millions of Households here in Nigeria.

“That is precisely why in 2020, as part of the government’s efforts to cushion the effects of the pandemic, the Ministry provided dry take home rations to targeted households of pupils on the program in Lagos and Ogun States, and the FCT. This is in line with our mission and mandate to ensure that all Nigerians in need are heard, seen and included”.

The Minister also disclosed that series of initiatives were already being deployed to enhance effective programme delivery.

“We are currently working on a policy framework for the program, and will also be rolling out quality assurance structures, along with the introduction of the concept of School Kitchens in 60 model schools across the Nation.
“These School Kitchens are designed to serve as models, as well as training and skills building centers for cooks and other vendors of the programme”.

The minister also said that arrangements were underway to provide two free meals for Out-Of-School Children from the NHGSFP scheme as it rolls out the Alternate School Program (ASP) soon.

She thanked the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for providing the required regulatory oversight and monitoring compliance on hygiene, food safety and meal quality standards.
“The Ministry is also working closely with the World Food Programme (WFP), which is providing technical support, capacity building and policy guidance in the implementation of the NHGSFP.”

Earlier, the National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programs Dr Umar Bindir noted that the School Feeding Programme introduced in 2016 has impacted on school children through a significant increase in school enrolment and attendance and improvement in the nutrition and health status of beneficiary pupils.

The programme currently has a total of 9,881,773 million enrolled children in over 53,000 schools, of which 4.1 million pupils have so far been verified and captured on the NHGSFP Database, in line with the Ministry’s ongoing efforts at establishing a verifiable database of beneficiaries across all of its programmes and interventions

Other speakers at the commemoration of the Africa School Feeding Day include the National Cordinator and Chief Executive Officer at New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD Nigeria Princess Gloria Akobundu, the Representative the Nassarawa state Governor, NEPAD’s Nutrition and Food Systems Project Manager Kefilwe Rhoba Moalisi and other stakeholders.

The theme for this year’s edition of the Africa Day of School Feeding is ‘Nutrition and human capital development in Africa through increased investment in home grown school feeding’.

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Education

14-year-old student wins Majesty Academy, NMC Mathematics competition in Kogi

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

MASTER Divine Oguche, 14-year-old student of Living Faith Academy, Lokoja, has emerged overall winner of the maiden Majesty International Academy Mathematics competition organised in collaboration with the National Mathematics Center (NMC), Abuja.

The Mathematics competition hosted by Majesty College, Lokoja, was themed; “Building Confidence, Embracing Mathematics with Enthusiasm.”

Oguche who clinched the star prize of N500,000, a Refrigerator, a Pressing Iron and an electric heater was followed by the first runner up, Ismail Wildan, with a prize of N300,000, a pressing iron and an electric kettle.

The second runner-up, Egede Chris, got N200,000, a pressing iron and an electric kettle as 10 students who participated in the final lap of the competition got N20,000 and N10,000 each as consolation prizes while other participants got Certificates of Attendance.

Principal of Majesty College, Prof. Emmanuel Ohize, in his speech, said the competition was aimed at building interest and spurring the Nigerian child to study and develop love for Mathematics.

Prof. Ohize noted that the competition which was in three stages, had 33 Students drilled in objective questions out of which 23 were weeded leaving 10 students to contest in the second stage, the theoretical part.

He said that five students further dropped as they failed to proceed to the final stage leaving Divine Oguche, Ismail Wildan and Egede Chris to win the first, second and third positions respectively.

Prof. Ohize noted that the study of Mathematics remains critical to science and technological advancements of the nation, adding that the competition was the modest contribution of Majesty International Academy to the enhancement of teaching and learning of the subject.

According to him, Mathematics transcends race, culture and geographical boundaries, saying that it is crucial and remained the major determinant of the students’ academic progression.

He commended the Management of National Mathematics Center for the cordial relationship that culminated in the successful hosting of the competition as well as management team, staff and students of the College for their sacrifices.

The Principal commended the overall winner, Master Divine Oguche, who had previously won similar competitions hosted by the college and charged him not to relent in his quest for excellence in the world of mathematics saying that the sky could only be his starting point.

The Managing Director, Majesty West Africa Limited, owners of Majesty International College, Alhaji Muhammad Aleru, commended the participating schools and students for their commitment in prioritizing the study of Mathematics.

Alhaji Muhammad Aleru assured that Management of the College would continue to encourage and support the teaching and learning of Mathematics in view of its importance to the growth and development of Nigeria.

Ass. Prof. Solomon Ojo, Head, Olympiad Unit of National Mathematics Center (NMC), acknowledged the brilliant performance of the participants and stressed that the nation had what it takes to emerge as a science and technology giant in the sub-Saharan Africa.

He opined that given the needed support, Mathematics could be used to tame the hydra-dreaded monster of corruption facing the country.

“If majority of this young generation embraces Mathematics, the society will be relieved of corruption and other evils as it has capacity to reconstruct the people to know how to avert manipulations by unscrupulous elements.

Amidst tears of Joy, the star Prize Winner, Master Divine Oguche expressed gratitude to his parents, Management and Staff of Living Faith Academy and Majesty International College for the opportunity to participate in the competition. (Ends)

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Obi laments over Nigeria’s weakening economy that has impoverished the academia

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Peter Obi
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***As a professor pleads to be made special Assistant to reps member

The presidential flagbearer for Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi has expressed concern over the deplorable State of the economy that will make a professor in Nigerian university prefer to be an aide to a lawmaker rather than continue to lecture in the Ivory towers.
This is coming against the background of an uncanny encounter he had with a University Professor in Nsukka on Wednesday that made him to ponder over the pitiable state of his affairs as a University Professor for 14 years.
The university don even sought Obi’s intervention to land a more lucrative job of serving as Special Assistant to a federal legislator.
Obi’s mission in Nnsukka was to campaign for a Labour Party Rep member involved in a court-declared bye-election when he ran into an old friend and a Professor with the pathetic story that mirrors the plight of virtually all working class in the nation’s Tertiary institutions in the country. 
Sharing the touchy story in his X handle platform,  Obi wrote “My two key assignments in Nsukka,  Enugu state on Wednesday as significant as they were, got consumed in my chance but emotional encounter with an old friend and University mate now a Professor in the institution. 
“My mission in Nsukka was for two important events. First, was to visit and assess a dilapidated health center, and second, to campaign for one of the federal legislators, Hon Dennis Agbo, contesting to represent Udenu/Igbo Eze North Federal Constituency in the forthcoming bye-election on Saturday.”
He expressed the confidence that legislator is committed to the good of his people.
However, while in Nsukka, he met one of those brilliant fellows  he knew while he was a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the 80s who graduated with a first class and became a lecturer in the institution. 
“When I later visited the University as the then Governor of Anambra State, he proudly announced to me that he was already a professor and I rejoiced with him.
 “I met him again in Nsukka on Wednesday, but our exchange of pleasantries resulted in very pathetic tales about his general welfare. I noticed in his look and mien that all his happiness of being a professor had vanished.
He began his story by telling me that he felt like he wasted all his years lecturing.
“He dragged his arousing pity story into his current remuneration as a professor. 
According to him his salary as of January 31, 2010, which is 14 years ago remains the same to date, having reached the pinnacle of his career.
 “The only significant difference is that while the money was worth something in 2010, today the same amount is worth nothing.
“The Professor recalled how he was able to buy a Toyota Corolla from his savings, something that is not possible again today. I asked for his salary today, he said about N400,000. 
“He broke my heart when he requested that I put in words for him so that Hon Dennis Agbo can appoint him as Special Adviser when he wins. The reason for the bizarre request that shocked me was that he would earn more and receive more perks as an SA than as Prof.
“Touched by this and applying my finance background  I decided to do some comparative analysis.
“By January 31, 2010, the salary of a Nigerian University Professor was about N400,000. With the then prevalent exchange rate of N150.10 per dollar, the salary amounted to about $2665.
“Fourteen years later, on January 31, 2024, the salary of a University Professor remains about N400,000. With the prevailing exchange rate of N1,510 per dollar, the same salary now amounts to about $265.

“So after putting in 14 years of hard work,  having attained the zenith of his academic career, a Nigerian University Professor now earns 10% of what he earned 14 years ago – this is only possible in Nigeria.
‘A few years ago, a Toyota Corolla cost N4.8 million, so his annual salary without any expenditure on any other item, amounting to about N4.8 million, could buy a Toyota Corolla.
“Today, the same Toyota Corolla costs about N52 million which is more than 10 years of his salary without expenditure, to be able to buy one, after having attained the highest point one can achieve in academia.
“Considering the critical role education plays in the development of a nation, and the low human development index, HDI, we are currently at, we require as many hands and a committed workforce as we can get in that sector. But can we get such, when the earnings of our professors are going backward relatively?
“Sadly, we are in the same country where the government can use an amount enough to buy 3 Toyota Corollas, to buy personal SUVs for the legislators, whose annual earnings amount to several times that of the university professor and can now afford to pay the professor more than he can earn from lecturing in a premier university in Nigeria. 
“How does one then remain earnestly committed to contributing to the critical development of the nation?
He therefore advocated for dismantling of the criminality to create a functional society where people’s talents, efforts, and sacrifices will match up with their opportunities in life.

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Education

Group Provides Uniforms, Enrolls 300 Out of Sch. Children in JIgawa

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By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

Civil Society Action Collation on Education for All (CSACEFA), a non governmental organization has enrolled 300 Out of School Children in primary school in Dutse, JIgawa state.

Speaking while enrolling the pupils at Fagoji special primary school, the programme manager of CSACEFA, Malam Mustapha Yakubu said it is part of the effort to reduce the number of Out of School Children in the state.

Malam Yakubu explained that “The 300 children comprised of 150 males and 150 females that were mobilised from different parts of Dutse local government area”.

According to him “The 150 males children were street beggars while the 150 females were street hawkers that are either orphans or less privileged children who were not in to school and now enrolled”.

He stated that the United Nations Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) through the organization has supported the children with a set of uniform each, school bags, sandals, books and writing materials.

Yakubu stated further stated that the gesture is part of the programme jointly being carried out between the JIgawa through ministry of Women affairs and UNICEF through CSACEFA for reducing the number of Out of School Children in the state.

The project manager maintained that “parts of CSACEFA activities is also a public enlightenment campaign to Almajiris and Girls children hawkers on the importance of their enrollment in to school for minimum of universal basic education.

“To this end we went round some local Arabic schools and villages where we met with their local Malams, parents and guardians and convinced them to accepted to sent their Almajiris and girl child to schools for modern education”.

He added that due to the move they have succeeded in enrolling 300 of them. Indicating that they also provided them with uniform and writing materials to be in the schools”.

Malam Yakubu pointed out that, “during our tour, we also selected some teenagers from among the male and females to be ttrain in some local trade and hand skill that is locally marketable such as cap making, head weavings etc to be made in the comfort of their homes without going to hawk”.

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