Senator urges women to embrace Federal Govt’s empowerment initiatives


Late Hajiya Aisha Alhassan.

Hajiya Aisha Alhassan

Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Alhassan, has urged women in Nigeria to embrace and explore Federal Government’s empowerment initiatives.

She made the call at an interactive session with women associations and traditional rulers at the House of Chiefs in Ibadan on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN)reports that Alhassan was on a two-day sensitisation and advocacy on Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) to Oyo state.

She said that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had evolved several initiatives, including GEEP and NAWEF, for the people, particularly women, to benefit.

“I am sure that the schemes will enable women support their families better and contribute to government effort in growing the economy.

“These two initiatives will also help rebuild the Nigerian economy and complement other economic empowerment strategies of the Federal and state governments as well as development partners,’’ she said.

The minister encouraged all states to participate actively in the programmes, adding that the ministry was focused on helping businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

She said that the programmes would help the people to promote financial inclusion and livelihood opportunities for women.

She commended Oyo State Government for partnering the ministry and Federal Government on the initiatives and other programmes.

Welcoming the minster, the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, said that women in the state were very enterprising, eager and highly capable of contributing to nation-building.

Ajimobi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, said that his administration had left no stone unturned in ensuring that socio-economic development of women in the state was enhanced.

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“Our government has collaborated with the banking sector to assist women in their small and medium enterprises by creating access to soft loans to grow and expand their businesses.

“My personal interest in women issues facilitated the speedy passage of Violence against Women Law 2016 in the state. This is to protect the rights of women and children for enhanced socio-economic development of the state.

“We have also resolved over 3,000 matrimonial cases in the state through our programmes,’’ he said.

The governor said that over 9, 573 individuals were currently benefitting from the N-Power programme of the Federal Government, adding that Federal Government programmes enjoyed 80 per cent participation in the state.

He expressed the hope that the advocacy and sensitisation programme would ease and enhance the state government’s access to the GEEP and NAWEF intervention programmes.

Earlier, Mrs Atinuke Osunkoya, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community Development, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation in the state, appreciated the minister on the sensitisation visit.

She said that the introduction of GEEP and NAWEF would most certainly meet the needs of the people through the provision of micro-credit loans in a sustainable manner as tool for self-employment.

“These initiatives have potential to take the women in their small, medium and large businesses to the next level,’’ Osunkoya said.

She said that the Ajimobi-led administration in the state had made concerted efforts to empower women through various programmes to ensure their overall well-being.

“There are numerous implementable educational policies favourable to women in the state, interest free loans and provision of employment opportunities for women.

“Government has built ultra-modern shops for women to create enabling environment for them and training programmes to enlighten women on their roles in the society,’’ she said.