Foremost human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has described the Federal Government’s plan to continue with the School Feeding programme during the ongoing lockdown as an insult to Nigerians.
He stated this while reacting to a statement credited to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, whose ministry coordinates the programme.
Farouq had, in aligning herself with a presidential directive, vowed to work with state governments to develop a strategy to continue the programme despite schools being closed to halt the spread of COVID-19.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech imposing lockdown on Lagos, Ogun, and FCT late March, said, “Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies.”
However, Falana reacting to the continuation of the programmes said it wreaked of insensitivity.
He told The Punch, “The Federal Government should stop insulting the collective intelligence of the Nigerian people. For goodness’ sake, are the school children being fed in their homes by the ministry of humanitarian affairs?
“The statement and other similar statements credited to highly-placed public officers during this crisis have compelled the Nigerian people to demand accountability in the school feeding and cash transfer policies of the Federal Government.
“Even though Lagos State warehouses the largest number of the very poor people in the country not a single person in the state has benefited from the cash transfer programme of the Federal Government.
“Hence, Lagos State is conspicuously missing in the social register compiled by the Presidency.”
Falana continued, “In his last broadcast, President Buhari announced the increase in the number of the people in the social register from 2 .6 million to 3 .6 million.
“The state and local governments must compile their own social register of poor people and liaise with the Federal Government with a view to ensuring a more effective way of distributing the palliative.”
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