President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to tackling the scourge of schoolchildren’s abductions despite the attacks on educational institutions in the country.
He stated this on Friday while receiving the National Working Group of the Supporting Advancement of Gender Equity Initiative at the State House in Abuja.
“Despite the spike of incidence of the abduction of school children and other security challenges, this government remains resolute in his pursuit of a just and credible society devoid of inequalities and promotion of the rule of law,” Buhari said.
“Let me assure you all that we remain committed to working with groups such as yours to address these challenges.
“As a leader of the government governing party, I will lend my voice to the amendment of the party constitution, which is ongoing now. And is the entry point for effective and meaningful participation of women in elective offices. Once again, thank you for your efforts and support to women.”
The President underscored a zero-tolerance towards gender-based violence in the country, directing the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen to immediately inaugurate an inter-ministerial gender-based violence management committee, to address all forms of violence against women and children.
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While renewing Nigeria’s commitment to raising the bar for women’s representation at all levels, locally and internationally, President Buhari equally voiced concerns over increasing out-of-school children in the country.
Among those physically in attendance is ex-President of Malawi, Joyce Banda; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Women Affairs, Paulin Tallen; ex-President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani (who attended virtually); Emir of Keffi; Entertainer Tuface Idibia, amidst other senior government officials.
President Buhari asks Ministers of Justice and women affairs to work with the National Assembly to ensure implementation of 35percent affirmative action as constitutional and electoral reform processes are ongoing.
READ BUHARI’S FULL SPEECH HERE:
Your Excellencies, former president of the Republic of Kosovo, Liberia, and Malawi secretary to the government of the Federation, chief of staff, Honourable Minister, a women affairs and Information, Senator Ken Nnamani former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hajia Inna Mariam Chiroma, former Minister of human affairs, Your Royal Highness of Keffi, senior government officials, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
This meeting taking place today is very timely. The month of March holds a lot of promises for women around the globe, including Nigerian women. Let me, therefore, start by wishing all of you a belated Happy International Women’s Day and happy women’s month.
I want to commend our group for taking an interest in our national development and advancement by adding your platform to demand an increase in women’s participation in governance and decision-making at all levels.
Women are an incredible force in strengthening our democracy and promoting the culture of peace and food security.
I am most grateful for the role women have played and continue to play in our government. Their contributions, have been able in sustaining our social economy fabric from the corridors of decision making to rural communities.
This administration places a premium on promoting women’s inclusiveness, international development, as we have demonstrated with those holding key portfolios in this administration. They include the Minister of Finance, budget and National Planning. Minister women’s Affairs, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs disaster management and social development. Minister of State for industry trade and investment, minister of state for the environment. Minister of State for transportation, minister of state for Federal Capital Territory, head of the civil service of the Federation, Chair federal character commission, Managing Director Nigerian ports authority and others.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, women in leadership, achieving an equal future in a Coronavirus world calls for more concerted efforts and Nigeria is more than ever committed to join in raising the bar for women’s representation at all levels.
This administration has demonstrated this by engaging in intense diplomacy to support the aspirations of Nigerian women to provide leadership and at the global stage. I’m very proud of the achievements of my former minister for environment and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Fatima Mohammed Kyari as African Union permanent observer to the United Nations and the newly elected Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
We will continue to support them to succeed and we shall continue to advocate our women who qualify to lead international fora.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant problems, including the spike in gender-based violence, this administration promptly responded by declaring zero tolerance to gender-based violence in the country. I have since directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with the minister of women’s affairs, to immediately inaugurate an inter-ministerial gender-based violence management committee to address all forms of violence against women, and children in the country. This body is already in place and running.
In addition, I have approved that 45% of the small and medium scale enterprise funds be reserved exclusively for me, with 5% goes to other vulnerable groups. This apart from the immediate relatives targeting them, we have also expanded our social intervention programmes to further address the needs of the most vulnerable women in our society.
Education of the girl child and the empowerment of mothers are fundamental to achieving an increase in the number of female leaders in the country, and the objective of lifting 100 million of our citizens out of poverty in 10 years.
At the commissioning of the Ministry of Home Affairs headquarters building in January 2020, I had pledged to add child marriage and boost girl child education across the country. This is born out of my concern on the increasing number of out-of-school children in the country. This government would sustain ongoing efforts to address this issue.
I am aware that given the size of our population, more can be done to improve the participation of Nigerian women in politics, and in seeking elective office. The twin evils of limited access to education, and poverty and gender-based violence remains a strong inhibitor. However, our resolve remains unshaken in tackling these issues.
Despite the spike of incidence of the abduction of school children and other security challenges, this government remains resolute in its pursuit of a just and credible society devoid of inequalities and promotion of the rule of law.
Let me assure you all that we remain committed to working with groups such as yours to address these challenges.
As a leader of the government governing party, I will lend my voice to the amendment of the party constitution, which is ongoing now. And is the entry point for effective and meaningful participation of women in elective offices. Once again, thank you for your efforts and support to women.
Let me conclude by recommending that in your specific area of advocacy, which is increasing women’s participation in electoral processes through legal reforms, I will as the minister ministers women’s affairs and justice to work with the National Assembly to ensure necessary reforms are part of the ongoing constitutional and electoral reform processes.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria