Governor Ahmadu Fintiri-led Adamawa State Government has disclosed that it spent N331, 808,400.00 to feed Almajiri and out-of-school children during the lockdown in 2020.
Recall that due to the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the globe, the country went on a nationwide lockdown.
However, data on the Adamawa State open procurement portal have it that while the nation was on lockdown, the state government fed Almajiri with the above-stated amount.
According to the data, the contract, tagged “feeding of Almajiri and out of school children,” was awarded to Damada Restaurant.
It was also revealed that the contract was awarded by the Ministry of Finance and Budget and it was carried out in 12 Local Government Areas of the State.
A search on the Corporate Affairs Commission shows that Damada Restaurant is not registered. According to procurement law, a certificate of incorporation is one of the requirements a company must possess before being awarded a government contract.
Meanwhile, it was in January 2021 that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the ongoing school feeding programme in the country to Almajiri schools and other children in non-conventional education settings.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this during the 4th Annual Review of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP.
“It is, therefore, safe to say that we have been working tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable Nigerians are brought into the Federal Governments social protection umbrella, which seeks to support, empower, and level the playing field so that they are better equipped to handle economic and social shocks while contributing their quota to society and the betterment of our great Nation.
“The National Home Grown School Feeding Program is an important intervention because of the multiple wins it is capable of delivering. It is a vehicle for reducing hunger, promoting educational gains, health status improvement and economic stimulation. Such Programmes are recognized as positive indicators for countries on track to achieve sustainable development. The long term benefits to our children and the future of the Nation cannot be overemphasized. Thus we must resolve to remain steadfast in ensuring that this program reaches its objective and improves the lives of its beneficiaries.
“The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development remain committed to providing the necessary support and the enabling environment for social protection and inclusion policies to grow and take root in the fabric of our nation so that future generations will thrive and succeed in a growingly competitive world,” she had said.
This is an indication that the Adamawa State Government carried out the programme before Buhari approved the extension of the feeding programme to the Almajiri.
In December 2022, Fintiri said his administration is addressing the problem of out-of-school children through its free school feeding programme under the free education policy in the state.
The governor noted that the programme has contributed to the reduction of the out-of-school children population in the state to less than 50,000.
“When we came in 2019, UNICEF said, Adamawa State has over 500,000 out-of-school children. But in three years, we did our best to re-integrate these out-of-school children into the formal school system and today that population has dropped to less than 50,000,” he said.
He pledged to re-integrate the remaining 50,000 out-of-school children into the school system before the end of his tenure. The governor, who is seeking re-election for a second term, had promised to use the remaining months left on his first 4-year term to accomplish that goal.