Kingsley Adejare,Ogun State
A total of 60,391 primary school pupils in Ogun State will be fed at home this month, as the Federal Government-funded “Home-grown feeding programme for school children” kicks off nationwide.
This was disclosed to newsmen in Abeokuta yesterday by the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Femi Ogunbanwo, while taking delivery of various food items ranging from bags of rice, beans, crates of eggs and several other provisions, provided under the scheme.
The food items were delivered to the Ogun State Government by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
According to Ogunbanwo, over 180,000 pupils had been listed for the feeding programme across the state.
He however, said that the government would start with one-quarter of the population in the meantime.
The exercise, he added, would take off from Ogun Central Senatorial District, before being expanded to cover the remaining two districts.
“As you all know, this is a federal government-funded programme; ours is just to provide the logistics and ensure that the food items are duly delivered to the children at home.
“We are visiting the children at home because of the Covid-19 situation and all our field workers and cooks are ready for the exercise,” he disclosed.
Ogunbanwo said apart from school children who are to benefit under this scheme, the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun had also stockpiled food items in Shagamu, aimed at feeding parents as well, especially those who are vulnerable and poor.
Meanwhile, a professor of Pharmaco-kinetic, Mrs. Peace Chinedum Babalola, has appealed to the federal government to set aside some appreciable funds from donations received in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, for setting up antiviral testing laboratories.
She said this was the only way the government could demonstrate its seriousness in combating the deadly disease.
Babalola, who is Vice Chancellor of Christland University, Abeokuta, noted that Nigerian pharmacists and other medical scientists had all it takes to surprise the world by finding a cure for Coronavirus, “only if the federal government will identify specific researchers, fund them and demand for results of their works on COVID-19”.
She made the appeal yesterday while briefing journalists on “post Covid-19 challenges and how Nigeria can effectively position herself amidst the comity of nations”.
She also faulted conditions set down by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the loan made available to Nigerian researchers, saying such “difficult conditions” could only “amount to stealing the intellectual properties of the country’s researchers”.
“Apart from saying that we can do something to save the lives of Nigerians infected by the Coronavirus, we also need money to do them and do them well.
“If I’m to run a pharmacokinetic study now, it can’t be less than N10 million. Neimeth is using its own money to run clinical trials; so they need more money for it to be tested in many places. So, we need money and we will do more.
“Government should recognise specific laboratories and fund them continuously and demand results from them. That is what I will suggest. Identify key people, key laboratories and fund them and you’ll be amazed.”