President Mohammadu Buhari has promised to include more women in the governance of the country, saying it will ensure the spread of development across Nigeria.
The President made the promise at the State House Abuja on Thursday, when he received a group of Nigerian Women led by the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen.
The President also reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to end child marriage and boost girl-child education.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said the Nigerian women have a pivotal role to play in the country’s development, thus their participation in politics and governance must be improved, starting with the 35 percent benchmark for women’s participation as recommended in the National Gender Policy.
“I truly understand that when equity becomes the guiding principle and women hold strategic leadership positions both in government and the private sector, not only will our development be accelerated but also the diversity and richness in the quality of our policy design, engagement and execution will be improved.
“I want to reassure you that this administration remains resolute to not only meet the 35 percent National Gender Policy, but to exceed it across key decision making roles in government.’’
To further improve women’s participation in politics and decision-making, the President according to the statement said it will be important that the on-going Constitutional Review processes at all levels institutionalize accountability mechanisms and frameworks in the implementation of the National Gender Policy and the use of gender-disaggregated data for planning.’
“I wish to recognize the value Nigerian women bring to our society, especially when they are supported and given a voice. This was displayed in 2015, when Nigerian Women; young and old, including my wife, Aisha Buhari took a decisive and bold step to ensure that the polls spoke in favour of the “Change Agenda” in the face of strong opposition, intimidation and what had appeared to be an impossible task. This administration is a beneficiary of the strong support of Nigerian women and I truly thank you all for the display of resilience throughout our journey.
“I am aware of the importance of the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs as the national machinery for the advancement of women and children in the country. This was my motivation in ensuring that the building, housing the ministry was promptly completed and I commissioned it as the first project in the year 2020 as a manifestation of this administration’s recognition of women’s crucial role in national development.’’
Even though the number of women in the current administration have not reached the 35 percent benchmark for women’s participation as recommended in the National Gender Policy, President Buhari said it represent the first step in strategic intervention for the inclusion of women.
On his commitment to end child marriage, boost girl-child education and ensure that mothers get educated, encouraged and empowered across the country, the President said he was happy that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and that of Education are working together to achieve the goal.
“I am happy that the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs is working with the Federal Ministry of Education to achieve this goal. I am aware that the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs requires adequate and guaranteed access to funding, human and technical resources to achieve its mandate, and this is being prioritized.’’
Responding onbehalf of the delegation, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, thanked the President for the release of finance to complete the headquarters of the ministry which was abandoned since 2013.
The former Plateau State Deputy governor also appreciated the President’s prompt response to cases of rape and gender-based violence occasioned by the lockdown, and the interventions of governments and institutions, including state governors.