IT was a historic moment for Nigeria and Africa on Wednesday as the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in the House of Commons, London, United Kingdom commended the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEALS) as a successful model to be copied worldwide.
Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola received loud applause as he made eloquent statistical presentation before the parliamentary body during which he advocated the use of biometric registration of beneficiaries of the Home Grown School Feeding programme worldwide to eliminate corruption and guarantee transparency.
To guarantee sustainable future for Nigeria, the governor called for the adoption of O’MEALS programme across the nation with appropriate legislative backing and extension to the first nine years of schooling.
At the meeting presided over by Lord Cameron of Dillington, Governor Aregbesola submitted before the world audience gathered in Committee Room 9 of the House of Commons that technology remained the best way to address the concerns of development partners and international donors on the issue of corruption.
Addressing the concerns of development partners on what was referred to as all-pervading corruption through which project funds were usually lost in the past, the governor expressed the conviction that once beneficiaries of the programme are registered biometrically, banks that are linked with the programme funding would rely on the data to process payment and ensure that no fund is lost at the implementation stage.
“Technology remains the only effective way to remove corruption from the implementation of the Home Grown School Feeding programme. Once the technology of biometric registration is introduced for beneficiaries, the data is linked to settle the banks and through that, the vendors are paid. Beneficiaries are then able to register their biometric features through the Point of Sales (POS) terminals to guarantee a transparent, corruption-free and efficient HGSF system worldwide”, he said.
All the four speakers including Professor Donald Bundy, the Lead Health and Education Specialist of the World Bank; Mr Peter Rodrigues, the Chief of School Feeding and Chronic Hunger Unit of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ms. Boitshepo Bibi Giyose of NEPAD and Professor Josephine Kiamba, the Senior Technical Adviser of the Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College, London, lauded Governor Aregbesola for successfully implementing the O’MEALS despite the challenging financial situation of his state.