From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to tackle poverty among women, as Nigeria joins other countries to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).
Orelope-Adefulire said this at the weekend in a statement she issued in commemoration of the 2021 IWD with the theme; “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
Celebrated worldwide, the IWD is a day set aside to assess the progress being made by efforts being made in the struggle for social, economic, cultural, and political inclusion of women as well as for advocacy for actions on acceleration of gender equity.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, Orelope-Adefulire noted that just like in the other parts of the world, COVID-19 had exacerbated gender inequalities in Nigeria, especially among the poor, with many women finding it difficult to cater for their families as a result of loss of their livelihoods as engendered by the pandemic.
She noted that the Federal Government has positively responded to the challenge in various ways, citing the Special Cash Grant Project through which 135,000 women rural women across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory are already benefitting from “one-off” grant of N20,000 each.
In addition, Orelople-Adefulire noted that the President had at the inception of COVID-19 in Nigeria directed the expansion of the Social Safety Net Register to accommodate more beneficiaries of the government’s cash transfer programme while women are also major beneficiaries of the of the various initiatives under the N2.3 trillion economic stimulus plan of the administration.
She added that while COVID-19 has made many women poorer, it has been established that SDGs cannot be achieved without tackling the issues of poverty and gender inequality.
“This means all hands must be on deck to end the poverty among women as parts of efforts to ensure no one is left behind through sustainable initiatives targeted at job creation and expansion of economic activities across the country,” the presidential aide said.
She therefore urged other stakeholders to join the battle to tackle poverty among women, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even as I commend President Muhammadu Buhari over these initiatives which are consistent with his national vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, I will urge other stakeholders to join in the efforts to ensure that more of our women are brought into the mainstream of social-economic activities in Nigeria,” said the president aide who also paid tributes to women at the front line of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic at various levels in the country in the statement.