Ministry Disburses N3bn to Empower 67, 358 Women

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Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, says N3 billion has been disbursed to empower 67,358 women in the country’s six geo-political zones.

Tallen disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while featuring at the 59th edition of the State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.

She said the Empowerment Project for Rural Women, which started with six pilot states, is supported by the World Bank.

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“It is strictly for rural women and girls through local financial literacy programmes and skills acquisition using the instrumentality of the six pilot states.

“It was a pilot project for six states; one from each of the geopolitical zones.

“When we tried it and saw that it was successful, we appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the World Bank for us to extend it to other states.

“The states that first benefited were Ogun in the Southwest, Niger in the North-Central, Abia in the Southeast, Taraba in the Northeast, and Kebbi in the Northwest through the establishment of women affinity groups.

“The project has disbursed more than N3 billion to 67,358 women beneficiaries.

“The women are excited because the monies were transferred into their accounts and more are coming as we will extend it to all the states,’’ she said.

Tallen said she had obtained the commitment of state governors to domesticate laws aimed at protecting women and the girl-child.

She said that 34 states had domesticated the requisite Acts while the remaining two had pledged to do so before the year ended.

“We had a meeting with the Nigerian Governors Forum and gave it conditions; part of the conditions is that states must domesticate the Child Rights Act and the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act to benefit.

“That has helped to fast-track the domestication of the both Acts.

“In the two remaining states, the two governors have assured me that before the end of December, they will key in,’’ she added.

The minister said the ministry had also engaged with traditional rulers and community leaders to promote the rights of women.

She said that Sokoto State was one of the spotlight states as the ministry, alongside the EU and UN delegations, UN women representatives among other stakeholders were in the state recently.

“The Gender Policy for the Nigerian Police is also in progress; it is being reviewed.

“In my last advocacy to the Inspector-General of Police, he assured me that before the end of this year, the Gender Policy will be unveiled,’’ Tallen said.