Delta Children Forced To Choose Between Food & Shelter
Chioma had only taken a spoon of rice from her plate when she was reminded that food cannot be safe inside a building with its roof partly destroyed.
Chioma is sincerely confused.
She does not know if she should pray for the government officials that had put the food in her plate or to rain curses on them for not providing a roof over her head.
The speck of lizard's shit in her rice held her attention as tears of pain dropped into the plate.
She was not aware she could have more food from the vendor.
She was torn between two choices - Food or Shelter in the community school where she spends most parts of her day.
Imagine if Chioma was looking away and had scooped the shit and few grains of rice into her mouth, chewed it and swallowed it?
Food, shelter, clothes and now information – have become man’s daily pursuit and most times people are willing to give anything their power could reach to get these.
Some of these necessities in developed countries are provided for children who cannot fend for themselves by the government for free.
One place children need to have food in their stomach to give attention to the activities of the day is the school.
They should not be bothered by hunger while they are within a learning environment.
In 2014, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari promised to feed pupils of primary schools free of charge during its pre-election campaign.
Between the time of coming into office in 2015 May and now at least 6.6 billion Naira has been spent on feeding pupils with over 2.9 million school children accommodated under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
Delta is one of the states that has benefited from this feeding programme and one community, Ubulu Okiti in Aniocha South Local Government Area, is already covered by the scheme.
Chioma and other pupils of Utoli Primary School have been fed several times, but her sad experience now draws attention to the need for the government to first make the environment safe for the pupils.
The situation leaves one confused over which comes first in the hierarchy of needs or scale of preference for these pupils – Food or Shelter?
Infrastructure issue fall in the purview of the State government and it calls for action.
Utoli Primary school is one of the oldest schools in this community, but infrastructural decay could be seen at first glance at the school compound where the children are being fed.
While food goes into their stomach the roof over their head can be compared to a pocket full of holes and an elevated risk to the lives of the pupils.
Part of the roof has been blown away by wind and the other half never existed.
Do They Really Need The Food?
This building is one of those things you will see in Delta State and you will wonder where the government is focusing its strength.
A nation is as developed as its education sector and the earlier the Government’s agency in charge of maintaining schools in Delta State wakes up to its responsibility; the better for democracy.
You cannot give a man food and take away the roof over his head.
Ubulu Okiti is home to farmers and palm wine tappers. Food to a very large extent is not a problem for parents.
What they want is to have their children properly educated to the extent that they can liberate the community from poverty in years to come.
The community also lacks basic ammenities and electric cables have not tasted electricity in years.
The lenghty power lines have become materials that create an atmospher of make-belief.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa should take action and put a roof over his childrens' heads.