International Women’s Day: FG assures impactful, accessible programmes for women

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), President Bola Tinubu

has assured impactful and accessible programmes that will improve the status of Nigerian women and make life easy for them.

He gave the assurance at the launch of “Nigeria for Women Programme” in Abuja on Thursday, saying that the initiative, which has other
activities under it, is aimed at empowering women economically, protecting their rights and promoting national development.

Represented at the programme launch by Mr George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Tinubu listed key components
of the programme as; the P-BAT Cares for Women E-market portal, National Women Helpline, Naija save Nigeria Integrity/Transparency
Brigade and Nigeria Be Informed National Broadcast Channel.

He reiterated government’s commitment to address challenges affecting women and vulnerable groups in the country, adding that “we are
not just committed to women in Abuja and other urban centres; we are committed to all the women in this country, particularly
the most vulnerable who live in rural areas.

“Government needs to continually implement policies that improve the lives of our citizens and be deliberate about reducing the struggles
of Nigerian women, while increasing the economic prosperity of our women.”

He called for increased collaboration with international partners, religious and traditional leaders, and support for reforms and policies
that ensure national prosperity and gender inclusivity.

“We know what it takes to have a more gender-inclusive country; we need to make deliberate efforts to achieve this. It is time to empower our women.

“There is a limit, of course, to what government can accomplish on its own. We extend a hand of partnership to stakeholders present and beyond,
imploring them to join us in building our women and the nation.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, noted the economic challenges and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) women and children face in the country.

Kennedy-Ohanenye said that the programmes launched would address these challenges, fight for the rights of women, promote their participation in all areas, particularly economically and politically

She said rice, cassava and garri processing machines and other machines have been procured and distributed to some states as part of the programme, adding that “it is time to empower those that we have trained to reduce poverty.

“We are taking so many machines because we are interested in economic and sustainable ventures to reduce the suffering women go through.”

She thanked development partners, religious and traditional leaders, as well as other stakeholders for their support toward addressing the challenges.

Mrs Beatrice Nyong, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, stressed the need to invest in women to accelerate the achievement
of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She said “we are dedicated to promoting innovative solutions to address the economic challenges confronting women and girls in Nigeria.”

On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, emphasised the need to improve access to girl-child education and
recognise the role women play in economic and national development.

He said “we know the roles women play; without them, there will be no procreation. Women are the first teachers in the home,
if you have a good person, check his background, and you will find out that he has a good mother.

“As royal fathers, we know that without mothers, there can’t be men and without men, there can’t be women. So, we are here to demonstrate
our commitment to help the government succeed in its programmes.

“We are not anti-government but anti-social ills. We assure the government that we are 100 per cent ready. We have respect for women
because they are the real wheels of development in the country.”

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, called for more realistic programmes for women, as well as ensure strong follow-up and monitoring
mechanism to ensure success toward empowering women.

He said “this shouldn’t be a one-off; try to leave your comfort zones and go and see what people are going through from time to time outside
Abuja. You have a lot of networks you can work with to ensure women are empowered.

“Traditional rulers are closer to the people. We face the good, the bad and the ugly all the time while we see politicians once every four years.
Let’s walk the talk and not just talk and talk. For some women, all they need is motivation, not just money and equipment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women’s
rights movement, focusing on issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

The global observance has “Invest in women: Accelerate progress” as the theme of the 2024 celebration.