INI BILLIE, Uyo
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen has advocated the education and economic empowerment of women, saying it will solve insurgency and other myriads of problems bedeviling the country.
Tallen stated this on Thursday in Uyo alongside other development partners and stakeholders in the women sector during the 21st National Council on Women Affairs organized by her Ministry in collaboration with Development Research and Projects Centre under the Partnership for Advancing Women’s Economic Development (PAWED) project funded by the Bill and Melida Gates Foundation.
She stated that Nigeria’s security problems would be addressed by women empowerment saying that the positive effect would trickle down to homes, the society, and the nation at large.
“Women issues are so huge; women are going through so much. If we rise and support and empower women, we are doing it for our country. If a woman is happy, the children would be happy and well brought up, and we would not have all these insurgencies that we are battling with.
“The security problems we are battling with are a neglect of the past, and if we don’t stop and address it now, it is going to be too sad for us and posterity would not forgive us.
“The problem we are facing in Nigeria today, if only we can address it from the family, we are all guilty; and it is not too late for us to correct it now. We can correct it now or the gunpowder we are sitting on will blow up on us; God forbid.
“If we empower a woman, we will avoid so many of the diseases we are facing like HIV/AIDs. If a woman is empowered and she can take care of herself, she will not go out to get HIV and all other sexually transmitted diseases,” she stated.
The minister who called for more support and collaborations said the number of women who need help is so huge, adding that the Ministry alone cannot handle the myriad of challenges confronting the women, though it has tried to build a better future for some vulnerable women in the country.
She lamented that ignorance was chief among the reasons victims of Gender Based Violence and other rights violations failed to report such cases to the appropriate quarters and encouraged them to do so.
Tallen, who revealed that only 29 states in the country have domesticated the Child’s Right Act and the Violation Against Persons Prohibition Act, urged the remaining states to do same before the end of the year.
She said: “Women issues is everybody’s business because nobody would deny that he has a mother. Support the empowerment of women.
“The women that need help out there is so huge and what we are doing cannot be really felt. The World Bank project we have is just in 5 states, it was six, but one state has pulled out, and Akwa Ibom state has just stepped in and we are working to get it started. Six states out of 36 is nothing. There is so much to be done, and government alone cannot do it.
“Mr President has done his bit with the little resources because there are so many demands. We have a hotline for gender-based violence but because of ignorance, lack of education lack of getting the right information, they keep running here and there without getting help and that is why we need to intensify our advocacy and you know advocacy is quite expensive; the funds are not there.”
Earlier the Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu said in a goodwill message that women economic empowerment would to a great extent reduce the rate at which HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases are being contracted.
“If a woman is empowered and can take care of herself, she can’t go out to get HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases,” he said.
The session concluded that for Nigeria to close the gap on economic and financial inclusion, concerted efforts must be taken to strengthen coordination, establish accountability, and ensure deliberate policies targeted at increased women’ s economic development.