In a move to address fraudulent activities within the Federal Government’s Schools Feeding Programme, the Kogi State Government has terminated the employment of 111 cooks in 2022. The cooks were accused of engaging in fraudulent practices during the implementation of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) in the state.
Abdukareem Onyekehi Suleiman, the Kogi State Focal Person of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), made this revelation during a public hearing at the Kogi State House of Assembly on a bill for the establishment of the Kogi State Social Investment Programme Agency.
The NHGSFP, introduced by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration, aims to enhance the health, enrollment, and educational outcomes of public primary school pupils. Onyekehi disclosed that despite engaging 3,000 cooks for the school feeding program in Kogi, some individuals were involved in fraudulent activities even after receiving payment from the Federal Government.
He emphasized the importance of accountability and sanctions in cases of fraud, mentioning that the state government had disciplined 111 cooks who were reported for not preparing meals despite receiving payment. The matter has been reported to the appropriate authorities for further action.
Onyekehi highlighted that the government had been feeding 177,000 pupils in Kogi, with the goal of expanding the program to include all public primary schools accommodating pupils from primary 1 to 3. He explained that challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, electioneering, and changes in government had disrupted the program’s consistency in 2020 and 2021.
Despite the challenges, the Kogi State Focal Person expressed optimism about reviving and improving the program’s consistency, aligning with the objectives of poverty alleviation in Kogi State. The state government aims to complement federal policies with a unique state policy tailored to the specific needs of Kogi State.