At least 8.5 million school children in Nigeria are eating from the Federal Government's pot under its school feeding programme, a top official of government said on Monday.

The latest figure was given by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, in Kano.

She spoke at a high level interactive Social Policy Workshop on strengthening capacity to ensure sustainability for Child targeted programmes in Northern Nigeria.

Uwais believes that the feeding programme would not only reduce the pressure on families to provide food on the table, but also improve learning outcomes.

“Enrolment of Children in primary schools has drastically improved.

"Many of our poorest citizens do not prioritise education, often due to lack of appreciation of how education can enhance the fortunes of a child,” she said.

UNICEF Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, organised the Workshop for 19 Northern states commissioners of Planning and Women Affairs.

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The workshop was organised under the UNICEF New Country Programme (2018-2022), designed to expand the scope of interventions in social policy activities in northern.

She noted that the engagement of over 136,000 teaching Assistants under the Federal Government’s N-power programme across the country had improved the quality of education being received by the children.

Uwais said the school feeding programme was initiated by the Federal Government to address school enrolment problem and boost their nutrition.

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“Our potential as a nation cannot be fully realised when over 40% of our population are deprived of their capacity to achieve their full potential.

“Where we do not deliberately plan to educate and empower the our girl-child, we lose the economic potential of the the value she could have contributed to herself, the household and the community, not to talk of the impact of her knowledge on her children and generations,” the president's aide state. 

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