Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa says more women need to be empowered in order to bridge the widening inequality gap in Nigeria and the African continent.
The governor made the remarks while inaugurating the Women Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP) in Asaba on Monday, November 16, 2020.
According to Okowa, in most African traditional societies, women are being routinely abused, marginalized and discriminated against, particularly in the economic sector, even though they make up a chunk of the population.
Okowa added that empowering women, especially poor rural women, is fundamental to economic development in Nigeria.
He said that financial freedom for women means more confident women, less burden for the men, better living standards for the family, improved communities and a sense of fulfilment.
Okowa said that the state government has taken a step further in its entrepreneurial and skills acquisition training programmes by unveiling WESAP which is patterned after other entrepreneurship development programmes like STEP, YAGEP, GEST and RYSA.
He said that with the introduction of WESAP, the state government has covered virtually every vulnerable group in the society in its continuing efforts to create wealth, achieve social inclusion and attain sustainability.
“Since we came on board in May 2015, we have undertaken several measures, especially through the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Microfinance Scheme, to lift our women out of poverty and enhance their participation in the economy.
“We are taking it a step further today by unveiling the Women Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP), patterned after our other entrepreneurship development programmes, namely, STEP, YAGEP, GEST, and RYSA.
“As some of us here may be aware, women empowerment has for a long time been more than a national concern; it is a recurring global issue and one that needs to be tackled with concerted action to bridge the widening inequality gap in Nigeria and the African continent.
“In most African traditional societies, experience shows that in spite of comprising the majority of the population, women are routinely abused, marginalized, and discriminated against, particularly in the economic sector,” Okowa said.
In her remarks, the wife of the governor, Dame Edith Okowa, said that WESAP is a continuation of what her husband’s administration has been doing in the areas of skills acquisition and empowerment.
She congratulated the 460 participants in WESAP for being successful in the selection process and urged them not to sell the starter-packs that would be given to them upon the completion of their training.a