Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zainab Maina, says the Federal Government has invested in rural women because it believes they are key to effort to eradicating poverty and hunger in the country.
NAN said the minister was speaking on the occasion to commemorate Women’s Day, with the theme: “IWD: Connecting Girls, inspiring futures.”
“The Federal Government is reviewing its economic window support to the rural women under the Women Fund for Economic Empowerment Scheme,” Mrs. Maina said. “The ministry is collaborating with the Bank of Agriculture to enhance women’s access to agriculture and other small-scale economic activities in rural areas as well as soft loans that would boost their productivity.”
Urging governments at all levels, as well as other stakeholders, including civil society groups and the private sector, to rededicate themselves to gender equality and women empowerment, the minister said government plans to specially celebrate the day on March 13.
Meanwhile, in Kogi state, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Folashade Shinkaye, urged Nigerian women to mentor younger generation to be alive to their responsibilities to the family and the nation.
“Women are the mirror with which the younger generation looks into the future,” Mr. Shinkaye told a group of students drawn from selected secondary schools across the state to participate in the event. “Work hard to attain success. We are where we are because even in the midst of pain, we endured. Let me stress that the road to success is hard work and more hard work. There is no short cut to success. If you have a chance to get a degree, do not be satisfied with a diploma, and if you have a chance to get a diploma, do not be satisfied with a school certificate.’’
Coordinator, Women’s Rights group, Patience Ekeoba, said the theme of this year’s ceremony focused on girl-child issues, pointing out that government is encouraged to bring attention to the needs of girls by connecting and inspiring them to acquire the desired knowledge and skills necessary for healthy and productive growth and development.
Vice President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, urged Nigerian women to be active in the task of building a positive future for the country, adding that there were mixed perspectives by many Nigerians on the future of the country.
“There are those talking of the future of hope, of development, the future of Vision 20:2020 and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Mr. Aremu said. “These are positive future. There are those who think of the future of the nation in negative light. One must question their definition of the future because before one can connect the girls. One must know what one is connecting them to.’’
He said women must change Nigeria’s story from that of hopelessness to that of hope, adding that the future of uninterrupted power supply, a re-industrialised Nigeria, a decent work and guaranteed jobs is what every Nigerian is yearning for.
In Ekiti, wife of the State Governor, Bisi Fayemi, urged the Federal Government to tackle the rising incidences of illiteracy among Nigerian women “to protect the country’s future’’
According to Mrs. Fayemi a situation where two out of the every three illiterate adults in Nigeria are women portends grave danger for Nigeria’s future, noting that majority of Nigeria’s female children are deprived of schooling, “even with the level of civilisation across the world.’’