From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has recruited 1,800 caterers in the first phase to handle the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) across the 21 local government areas of the state.
Mrs Kadijat Karibo, the Unit Head of HGSFP in Kogi, told Our Correspondent at the venue of the screening exercise in Lokoja, that a total of 3500 caterers would be recruited, saying the feeding of the pupils would start in May.
She said that the state would employ 3,500 indigenous caterers to handle the cooking for over 350,000 pupils in 2,100 public schools from primary one to three across the state.
“In the first phase of the recruitment in 2017, out of 3,000 caterers we interviewed and screened for health checks, only 1800 were successful while others were filtered out through the health check.
“Today, we are starting the second phase of the screening with about 1,000 caterers, but only the successful ones after the health check would be employed, while others who failed would be dropped.
“The results of the health check come directly to us from the federal and state hospitals where we sent them to, because we do not want the process to be compromised by private hospitals
“We are satisfied with the process, because we are able to filter out those that have health challenges who cannot cook for our children no matter their influences.
“The successful candidates would now be added to the 1800 that we already have on ground in the first phase,” she said.
According to her, the recruitment exercise will be a continuous process as most text messages sent to candidates for interview could not be delivered to them due to poor network in some remote areas.
“Some communities were also flooded during the first phase of the recruitment last year.
“So, as from April 23 to 27, we will dispatch our team into those interior terrain to conduct interviews and screening for the caterers because we want to carry everybody along without marginalisation,” Karibo said.
Karibo added that local small scale farmers would supply the raw food needed for the feeding programme and the recruitment of caterers would reduce unemployment rate in the state.
She commended Gov. Yahaya Bello for promptly adopting the social investment programmes and making the necessary provision for infrastructure, fully equipped office and robust staff welfare.
“We appreciate the efforts of our focal person for the Social Investment Programmes in Kogi, Mr Ibrahim Adoga, for his commitment to the programme. He has been up and doing due to his love for the poor and vulnerable children.