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Abia to feed 51,000 pupils in pilot free schools meal programme

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on 29/11/2015

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The Abia State Executive Council (EXCO) has approved the policy of the State Government to provide free food for pupils known as Primary Schools Free Meal Programme.

The EXCO gave its nod to the programme during its second meeting where decisions to tackle critical challenges affecting the welfare of Abians.

Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the EXCO meeting presided over by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Bonnie Iwuoha, explained that under the pilot project of the Free School Meal project, 51,000 pupils from primary schools in the 17 local governments considered to be poor would be fed three times a week.

He said: “Council also approved the Primary Schools Free Meal Programme and 10 primary schools will be selected in each local government and pupils from the benefitting schools will be fed three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A total of 3,000 pupils will be fed in each local government every week.

“The Free School Meal Programme is a pilot project that is why 10 schools were chosen form each local government and these 10 schools are largely poor rural schools so as to encourage pupils in such schools, taking into consideration that there are some of them  that come to school without taking a morsel of food.”

The commissioner said that given the capital-intensive nature of the project, government was soliciting the participation of corporate organisations, companies and good spirited individuals to assist government in funding the programme. He said local foods would be used for the programme.

Iwuoha disclosed that in its bid to promote farming and improve the economy of the state, the EXCO “decided that integrated farming scheme be employed in the state with emphasis on palm produce, poultry, coacoa farming and cereal and root crops production.”

He maintained that palm tree planting would take precedence over every other crop. “As a matter of fact, it was decided that every available land space in Abia State should be planted with palm trees. So, all Abians should try and plant palm seedlings in their homes,” he added

Comrade Iwuoha also revealed that the state’s Ministry of Agriculture has been directed to produce a detailed work plan for the revitalisation of the moribund Ogwe Golden Chicken, Abia Palm and Ulonna Palm Plantation and present same by the next Council meeting.

He said the Ministry of Public Utilities has been given a marching order to commence immediate rehabilitation of the 52 water schemes scattered across the state, beginning with the Uturu Water which must be made functional this December.

“On raods,” Iwuoha said, “Council noted and appluaded the construction, rehabilitation works going on on 42 roads in Aba, Umuahia and Ohafia. The decision of government is to ensure that before the end of the dry season that very deplorable major roads in Aba would have been tackled.”

He said that EXCO also approved installation of street lights on reconstructed and rehabilitated roads, adding that already, the Ministry of Works has received about 570 stainless steel poles for the project. According to him, the new Government House premises and the new workers’ secratariat would be powered by solar energy to avoid the problem of incessant power outage.

“EXCO also decided that future markets that would built in the state will be provided and equipped with modern conveniences, paved floors, transparent covered roofs, fire services, Police stations and car parks, amomg others, to ensure that such markets were of international standards in order to promote businesses and encourage entrepreneurs to do their businesse with ease and a good measure of comfort in Abia State,” the commissioner added.

•Photo shows Comrade Iwuoha.

Source News Express

Posted 29/11/2015 9:41:07 PM


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