21st December, 2010
As the world marked the International Poverty Alleviation Day, the Lagos State Government has vowed to tackle the rising wave of poverty among women in theÂ state.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, WAPA, Mrs. Joke Orelope-Adefulire, who spoke atÂ at the Women Development Centre, Agege, Lagos,Â southwest Nigeria, to mark the day,Â decried the rate of poverty among women.
According to her, the day was set aside by the United Nations to honour victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger, lamenting that poverty among womenÂ had resulted in the lack of basic human needs, qualitative health care, limited opportunities and violation of dignity.
â€œPoverty goes beyond the inability to afford three square meals; it includes lack of basic human needs, clean water, nutrition, good and adequate healthÂ care, qualitative education, clothing and shelter.
â€œFundamentally, many forget that poverty can lead to denial of choices, limited opportunities and violation of human dignity. In all these, women andÂ children are the common victims,â€ she stated.
â€œMany are faced today with limited basic capacity and capability to participate effectively in family, social and economic development as a result ofÂ poverty.Â It creates a situation whereby people lack enough to feed and cloth themselves, people are unable to provide for and support their families; theÂ education of their children and lack access to quality medical care,â€ she added.
She said when some or a combination of the above happened to majority of the populace, especially women, it often resulted in social and economic insecurity,Â political weakness, lack of sense of belonging and general withdrawal from community participation and growth.
â€œIn our environment today, many of the domestic violence, mostly against women, are poverty induced.Â Unemployment and other social pressures associated withÂ poverty have made many men to visit such frustration on their wives and children,â€ she said.
Orelope-Adefulire further said poverty had made it impossible for women to participate effectively in social and economic development of the family andÂ community, assuring women of the governmentâ€™s determination to free the state of poverty through the systematic implementation of one and three of MillenniumÂ Development Goals in order to achieve sustainable growth and development.
Also, the commissioner explained that in conjunction with selected Micro Finance Banks, government is providing loans to deserving small scale business womenÂ in the state.
The commissioner said the present administration would remain focused by increasing investment in human and institutional capacity with the hope of turningÂ out highly trained graduates for the state.
Delivering papers at the occasion, the guest speaker, Professor Sunday Owualah, opined that empowering the poor through micro and small enterprises promotionÂ had the potential for creating a market-friendly environment for women to actualise the desire for self employment and financial security for their families.
Noting that women often prove to be more financially responsible, Owalah stated that women were more likely than men to invest in increased income, hence theÂ need to encourage them.