By Isaac Olamikan, Senior Correspondent, Benin
As part of efforts to ensure success of the National Social Investment Programme (SIP), the Edo State Government has embarked on an assessment tour of various schools and beneficiaries of the federal government’s SIP programmes in the state.
The states’ Focal Person on SIP, Osayuwamen Aladeselu, who visited schools and beneficiaries of the intervention programmes in Benin City, reassured the continuous support of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government to the sustenance of the initiatives, including the ongoing N-Power and School Feeding Programmes.
The focal person led her team to St. Maria Goretti Secondary School; Ugbekun Primary Healthcare Center and Oka Secondary School to assess the impact of the N-Power beneficiaries in their host communities. The team also visited Obanosa Primary School; Obaseki Memorial Primary School and Esigie Primary School, beneficiaries of the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, to evaluate cooks contracted to feed the pupils.
According to Aladeselu, “The N-power beneficiaries are supposed to be in their places of primary assignment to perform their duties; that is the reason the state and federal governments came together to ensure they are given the opportunity to serve the society. So, we are here to monitor them and ensure the idea of the programme is adhered to.
“We have spoken to the principal of St. Maria Goretti Junior Secondary School and she gave us a good testimony about the N-Power beneficiaries deployed to the school and we are impressed. It is the same report we got from other places we visited.”
She continued, “For the HGSFP, we need to ensure the success of the initiative because the state governor has invested to ensure the sustenance of its expansion across all classes in the beneficiary primary schools. We are also satisfied with the outcome of our visit.”
The Focal Person, who commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for ensuring the success of the school feeding programme in Edo State, said the initiative has led to increased attendance and enrollment in government schools.
“The pupils are excited about the programme as they don’t want to miss school because they don’t want to miss the food. It has also led to increase in attendance and enrollment in government schools. Indeed, the school feeding programme has achieved one of its core objectives, which is to increase enrollment, retention and improve the nutritious health of pupils,” she added.
In her response, the Principal of St. Maria Goretti Junior Secondary School, Mrs. Celestina Aletor, said, the N-power beneficiaries posted to the school are well behaved, dutiful and committed to their jobs.
The principal who commended the governor’s keen interest towards the success of the programme, pleaded for more beneficiaries to be deployed to the school.
Also speaking, the Head Teacher, Obaseki Memorial School, Abudu, Miss. Sunday Rose, said the School Feeding program is a welcome development, noting that it has caused an influx of pupils.
She said, “The children love it; a lot of parents have brought their children for enrollment due to the school feeding program. We appreciate the government for the program as the parents are happy because not all of them can afford a meal for their children in this present economic situation.”
Some parents of the pupils at Obanosa primary School, Mrs. Rosemary Igbinidu and Mr. Joseph Okunde, who spoke in separate interviews, commended the government for the laudable initiative.
The Programme Manager, Npower, Edo State, Mr. Osa Louis Ayemien, said, “the essence of the monitoring exercise was to know if the beneficiaries are committed to their duties; if they are making impact.”