By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja
Nigerian women will continue to have pride of place in the current administration, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged.
The President spoke yesterday at State House, Abuja, while receiving in audience the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Mrs Winnie Byanyima.
“Women hold strategic positions in this administration. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is headed by a woman. The Civil Service of the Federation is headed by a woman. And many others like that. We will continue to do our best to empower our women,” President Buhari in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina said.
On infrastructure renewal, he noted that the country lost good opportunities, ‘but we can’t continue to cry over spilt milk. We are now doing our best in concert with some developed countries.”
Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, believes that “ensuring the education of women and empowering them is an existential issue for Nigeria and the rest of Africa”, otherwise holding women down means holding their societies down.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this Monday in a keynote address at a webinar organized by Women In Africa (WIA) in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day.
Anchoring his contributions on the theme of the 2021 celebrations
“Choose to challenge”, the Vice President noted that “a child of a mother who can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of 5. Each additional school year increases a woman earning by 20%, 2/3 less maternal deaths if mothers finish primary school.”
“If we hold down half of the productive segment of our nation on account of culture or other frankly outdated considerations, we are
much poorer and much more deprived as a whole. We do ourselves a favour by ensuring social and legal equality of women,” he added.
Speaking on correcting stereotypes against women in Africa and other developing societies, the Vice President in a statement by his media
aide, Laolu Akande, said “for many generations, women have fought these manifestations of gender inequality. Over time the struggle has
been refined to the level of a right to gender equality.”
“of the NEC on the June 20, 2019, when he reminded them that they have the responsibility for primary and secondary education and for
ensuring that primary education Is free and compulsory. Citing the relevant laws he said Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal
Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child
of primary and junior secondary school age.”
He added that the Buhari administration has in most of its programmes given priority to women and other vulnerable groups in the society.
Reeling out specific programmes that had women at the fore, he said the Social Investment Programme focused deliberately on giving women a
more equal opportunities. 56% of beneficiaries of the Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme or 1.5 million women have been
empowered by the TraderMoni and MarketMoni micro credit schemes.
“Of the 500,000 beneficiaries of the Npower graduate employment scheme, over 45% of benfeciaries are female. For the Conditional Cash
Transfers 96% of beneficiaries are women.
“This programme in particular has demonstrated the resilience and focus of the women who have been receiving the N5,000 monthly stipend.
How they have continued to invest in their’ communities and grow their money. As at December 2020, they had formed almost 35,000 savings
groups in 27 States,” according to the Vice President.
Other speakers at the event include President of the MacArthur Foundation, Mr John Palfrey; CEO of AXA Africa, Hassan El-Shabrawishi;
President of Women In Africa, Hafsat Abiola, who moderated the discussion, among others.