By Mustapha Usman, Kano
The deputy governor of Kano State, Hafiz Abubakar, has responded to allegations that the administration has stopped school feeding programme introduced by the immediate past government.
Mr Abubakar, a professor, made the clarification while responding to questions at a press conference to mark the commencement of the First Basic Education Week programme in his office on Sunday.
He said the programme, which was built under a tripartite arrangemen among the state, the local governments and the communities, faced a problem when some of the contributors failed in their bidding.
The deputy governor said the programme could only be described as erratic but not stopped.
“School free feeding programme in Kano State has never stopped, at least not under this administration. The issue is, yes it was erratic. It was not covering the whole state at a particular time based on some reasons,” he said.
According to him, it was agreed that the state government would pay for the feeding on Mondays and Tuesdays, the local governments would contribute for Wednesdays and Thursdays, while the communities would contribute on Fridays.
Giving further reasons for the erratic nature of the programme, Mr Abubakar said the communities have failed to contribute to the school feeding programme for the past six years.
He cited example with himself, revealing that he stopped his contribution for the past six years in Gwale Local Government Area.
He added that the programme also faced a hitch as local governments had not been able to sustain their counterpart support due to insufficient grant from the federal government.
“In about one-and-a-half year, I think it is only in the last five or four months that the state government stopped contributing to the salary of the local governments in each month.
“The state government had to pay N700 million, N1.3 million, N800 million, to augment what the local governments get from Abuja to enable them pay salary. And the number one priority salary is that of the primary school teachers, which is the responsibility of the local governments,” he said.
The school feeding programme was first introduced in the state during the first tenure of the former governor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso between 1999 and 2003, and reintroduced during his second term between 2011 and 2015.