Father of 14 children, Mr Musa Malala, has appealed to Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State to domesticate Federal Government’s school feeding programme to address the menace of out-of-school challenge in the state.
Making the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday at Malala, Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State, he said that the policy would also boost school enrolment if implemented.
According to him, since the programme was stopped, parents in the community found it difficult to convince their children to return to school, noting that the programme is a relief to both parents and children.
He said: “I am a father of 14 children with two wives, and it has not been easy for me to send my children to school but I just have to do it. Many children have stopped going to school because the school feeding programme stopped. All they keep saying is no food, no school. I am calling on our dear Gov. Inuwa Yahaya to pick up the programme to encourage all these kids who are out of school back to school. It will help the school win back the pupils.”
Malala emphasised that “education gives value to people and I want my kids to be important tomorrow.”
He said “I have eight of my kids in primary school and four in junior secondary while two are still breastfeeding. All of them must go to school as long as I am alive. I have seen how education has reformed the social and financial status of families that invested in it and I want my family to be used as an example in that light.
“I am also a primary school teacher, having acquired my National Certificate of Education. In my school, we use to have over 50 pupils per class but today we are struggling to have about 20 pupils. The remaining pupils are either at home or going to the farm. It is difficult for parents to convince them to go back to school with the stoppage of the school feeding programme,” he added.
While acknowledging that the programme was capital intensive, Malala advised the state government to consider different options including a partnership to ensure that the programme was revived to encourage school enrolment.
The teacher also urged parents in the state not to hold back their children from school, adding that “education remains the only ladder to the greatness that I know”.