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N/R: WFP, others suspend support for school feeding

About four auxiliary organizations including the World Food Programme have suspended support for the Northern Regional Secretariat of the School feeding programme following raging controversies that have bedevilled the programme since the change of government.

The World Food Programme, an integral partner which provides meals for some selected schools in the region, The Hershey company, which also provided Vivi snacks to beneficiaries of the programme and S. M. D., a company that provides financial support to caterers have all stopped supporting the programme, Gafaru Abdul Haruna a former Zonal coordinator stated.

Gafaru said another company which provided a micronutrients powder to school pupils under the programme also pulled out following the hostile stance of authorities of the programme.

The outflow of these organizations seen by many as major setback for the programme in the region was triggered by the confusion between regional party members and national leadership over some appointments made into the programme.

The former zonal coordinator disclosed this after some youth group affiliated to the NPP locked up the office of the secretariat and refused to allow monitors of the programme to carry out duties following a frosty relationship between the Regional coordinator and the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Djaba .

The Burma Camp youth group accused Madam Otiko of appointing only tribal cronies as Zonal coordinators and sidestepping efforts of the regional coordinator, Felicia Teetey.

The group also expressed concern about double appointments made by the Gender minister claiming that the disputed zonal coordinators were also caterers under the programme.

It mentioned Madam Suraiya and Afiashetu Muazu who are zonal coordinators appointed at the same time to provide catering service to Tuutingli Islamic School and Kobilmahagu Sobria school respectively.

The group wants fair appointment of Zonal coordinators and catering service providers and is also demanding that the Gender minister stop meddling and allow the regional coordinator to assume full control over the programme.

The ongoing confusion has completely grinded the programme in the region to a halt as reports of caterers not providing service to pupils continue to surface after these essential support organizations ditched the programme.

At Ibn Tamiya T. I Ahmaddiya school in the Sagnarigu district, the assistant headmaster told Starr News for over four weeks since school started, the caterer for the School is yet to resume service.  There are several reports of this kind flooding in from many districts in the region.

Gafaru couldn’t confirm the date these NGOs suspended their services but said some pulled out immediately after the first confusion that broke between the regional chairman, women organizers and Otiko Djaba over the appointment of the Regional Coordinator.

The Others followed later according to Gafaru when the youth were getting more aggressive towards the conduct of Madam Otiko Djaba.

“We have not been receiving letters from them anymore. All the schools we monitored said they have stopped coming. Like Hershey for instance, teachers told us that the products have stopped coming in”, Gafaru who is yet to receive his letter terminating his appointment with the feeding programme indicated.

Attempts to reach these organizations for comment have since not been successful.

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