The Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Education, Lanre Ogunyemi has said that the State Government would soon begin to implement its “A-meal-a-day” programme in public primary schools.
Ogunyemi told NAN on Tuesday in Lagos that the programme was a campaign promise of the All Progressives Congress. The lawmaker said the state government was sincere about implementing it. His words: “I am aware that the state government is making efforts to dot all the ‘I’s and cross all the ‘T’s. We are sure that in a couple of months, the state government will start the programme.”
Ogunyemi commended the Kaduna State Government for blazing the trail of the feeding programme. He noted that the Federal Government would collaborate with state governments to execute the programme. According to him, the Federal Government will provide 60 per cent of the cost while each of the states will complement it by contributing 40 per cent. He said the intervention of the Federal Government would alleviate the financial burden that the states might likely incur from implementing the programme.
Ogunyemi, however, debunked criticisms from some quarters that the funds meant to implement the programme should have been expended on providing infrastructure in schools. He said such infrastructure would be of good use when the children that would use them were emotionally stable to learn.
He said: “What profit will it be if we put the infrastructure in place and the environment is conducive to learning but the pupils do not have the psychological, emotional and physical well-being to learn? All the requirements are interwoven, As we provide infrastructure for the schools, we must also see to the well-being of the pupils that will use the infrastructure in their schools.
“A child should be adequately and emotionally stable to be able to acquire and retain knowledge. A child, who is not well fed, who can hardly take one square meal per day from the parent is bound to be frustrated at school. Such is not likely to imbibe knowledge.”
It will be recalled that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State had said the government’s “A-meal-a-day” programme in public primary schools would start this year. The governor had said the programme would improve the daily nutrition of children, create job opportunities, enhance income generation and also alleviate poverty.