Kaduna State government has suspended the Education Secretary of a Local Government Area in the state (names withheld) for circumventing the process of payment of vendors engaged in feeding pupils.
The state’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Shehu Adamu made this known Saturday in Kaduna while giving updates to newsmen on the implementation of state’s free feeding programme for school children.
“Based on our arrangement, the monies for the vendors would be deposited weekly in banks where each of the vendors’ cooperative societies opened account.
“The heads of the cooperative societies will thereafter access the money and distribute same to each vendor accordingly, based on the number of pupils expected to feed in a week, at N50 per plate.
“But it was alleged that the Education Secretary in question gathered all the heads of the Cooperative Societies within the local government in his office.
“He collected the monies from them and was personally sharing it to the vendors, extending up to the middle of Monday night, thereby affecting the implementation of the programme in his local government area.
“That is not his responsibility, and therefore, he is suspended to enable the ministry carry out full investigation into the matter, “Adamu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov Nasiru El-Rufai had on Jan. 18, inaugurated a Free Feeding programme to provide one meal per day to 1.5 million pupils in over 4,000 public primary schools in the state.
However, the programme had faced some challenges in the first week of implementation in some Local Government Areas due to the inability of vendors to access the funds.
Adamu however assured that all the hitches recorded during the first week of the implementation of the programme were being addressed and appealed for the cooperation of all stakeholders
He equally said that the ministry also received reports that some of the heads of cooperative societies collected the monies and gave the vendors in bits, and in some cases, to their friends instead of the vendors.
He said that some of the women involved were being investigation and would be charged to court if necessary.
He said every pupil was expected to bring a plate from home and a bottle of water as the programme did not make provisions for drinking water.
“But we learnt that some of the pupils, instead of coming with plate from home, collect the food in polythene bags; this is unacceptable and should stop forthwith.
“Therefore, parents must ensure that they provide a plate and drinking water to their wards before sending them to school,’’ he said.
The commissioner further warned teachers to desist from forcing the children to buy plastic plates being sold in the schools, adding that any teacher caught would be penalised.
He urged the school-based management committees, comprising parents and notable community leaders, as well as Parents/Teachers Association, to assist in monitoring to ensure the success of the programme.