Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has flagged off the “Abia Free School Meal Initiative” for public primary schools with a call on affluent Nigerians to minimize waste of food and help feed the ordinary child.
Governor Ikpeazu who made the appeal at the launching of the pilot programme at Ntigha Primary School, Isiala Ngwa local government for Abia Central Senatorial Zone said that the tons of waste food dumped daily in dust bins across the state ostensibly, by the rich could be conserved if donated to the feeding of those who cannot afford two square meals a day.
He said the free lunch would assist in meeting the basic nutritional needs of children and expand their opportunity to reach their full potentials as well as significantly enhance their academic performance. According to him it not enough to serve the child with bread and tea but to ensure that what he eats is nutritionally balanced.
Abia is the third state coming after Osun and Kaduna states to embark on the free lunch which is seen to be in conformity with one of the provisions of the Child Rights Act” right of survival and development of the child”.
The programme, which is a private/public scheme to be supported by farmers and other partners, the governor said would reduce the pressure on house holds for food, enhance the implementation of the requirements of the Child Right Act which Abia domesticated in 2006.
The governor who assured that the programme would be sustained through out his tenure lashed out on the critics of the programme for lacking in compassion for those children who are not sure of a square meal a day and who think that as their own children are over fed and carry to school a saturated lunch pack is how every other child is.