By Amina Abdullahi Girbo
The Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Auwal Jatau, on Thursday in Lagos says the administration of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed in Bauchi is committed to the cause of empowering women in a bid to achieving gender equality.
In a key address at the 2023 National Women’s Conference organized by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos, Auwal Jatau said already Bauchi state government is championing the welfare of women, whom he described as the backbone of the society.
The Deputy Governor who represented the Governor at the conference, told the participants of the conference that the present administration in Bauchi has collaborated with UNICEF and religious institutions aimed at refining existing systems to uplift the standard of living of the Almajiri children and others facing harsh realities in the society.
According to him, some of the key policy measures taken included the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law; domestication and adoption of National Gender Policy, National Gender Policy on Agriculture, National Gender Policy in Education, Food and Nutrition Policy, Social Protection Policy and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on the involvement of women in peace process.
He regretted that gender inequality remains a pressing issue, which is hindering the nation’s progress, hence the need for prompt action to eliminate the various obstacles that women face through making quality education accessible and affordable to every girl child, in addition to equipping them with knowledge and skills to excel in any field they choose.
“It is my pleasure to extend the gratitude of my boss, Governor Bala Mohammed, the Government and people of Bauchi State to the organizing committee for conceptualizing and executing this exceptional event. Your dedication towards empowering women, promoting gender equality, and fostering a spirit of collaboration among states is highly commendable.
“Today as always, we recognize the pivotal role that women play in our society. They are the bedrock of our families, the backbone of our communities, and the driving force behind our nation’s progress. It is therefore high time we acknowledge the immense contributions they make day in and day out to build a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria.
“However, we must tackle the pervasive issue of violence against women. No woman should live in fear or face abuse in any form, we must strengthen our legal frameworks, establish efficient reporting mechanisms, and increase public awareness to eradicate gender-based violence. We must create safe spaces where women can speak out and receive the support they need.
“As a government, we have a responsibility to create an enabling environment that encourages entrepreneurship and fosters economic empowerment for women. Access to capital, business training, and mentorship programs are essential in supporting women-owned businesses and facilitating their growth. By doing so, we are not only empowering women economically but also driven economic development and poverty alleviation within our states.”
Auwal Jatau at the conference appreciated the foresight of Mrs. Funmilayo Johnson, the wife of the first Military Governor of Lagos State for initiating COWLSO in 1974 as a community based gender organisation to complement the effort of the Lagos State Government to promote child healthcare, empower women to discover their hidden treasures and protecting the environment.
“Let me also on behalf of my Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed congratulate the chairperson of COWLSO, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the first lady of Lagos State for sustaining the legacies of the founding fathers of the committee and for the achievements recorded under your stewardship.
“On his behalf, I want assure you that we stand with you in solidarity, committed to the cause of empowering women and achieving gender equality. Together, we can build a prosperous and inclusive Nigeria, where the rights and aspirations of every woman are respected, and their contributions are acknowledged.”
The Bauchi Deputy Governor was accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer Mohammed Haruna Barde, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajara Gidado, PDP State Women Leader, Hajiya Hafsat Adamu, Bappa Dan Isa, Hajiya Habiba Umar among others.