A coalition of gender -biased Civil Society Organizations Wednesday took to the streets of Abuja calling on the National legislators to approve the 2013 budget of the FCT including the proposals meant for upgrading the African First Ladies Peace Mission.
The total budget which is a little above N253b proposed by the FCT to the National Assembly has the sum of N4b for the rehabilitation of the African First Ladies’ Peace Mission an amount which has generated controversy on its relevance to poverty eradication in the country.
The group support walk took off from the Women centre at the Central Business District, CBD opposite the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Tafawa Balewa Way to the Minister’s officeat Area 11 where they were addressed by the Minister..
Leading the walk, FCT Chairman of the National Council of Women Society, NCWS, Nancy Bulus argued that the proposed upgrade of the African Women Peace Mission in the country was a good development as it would enhance the city aesthetics and place Nigeria in a place of pride in the comity of nation.
She maintained that the First Ladies’ Mission house would provide a platform for women voices to be heard in the continent and globally pointing to the Councils headquarters in Abuja, the National Hospital as similar projects by past wives of Nigeria Presidents still providing services to the women folks nationwide.
Every Nigerian woman and child is enjoying the hospitality, so why should project of Patience Goodluck Jonathan African Peace Mission Secretariat be different? We want that secretariat in this Abuja, in Nigeria as the giant of Africa, this is a unique project that all the Nigerian Woman wants it.
So we want the National Assembly members to pass the Bill of that budget, they should know that women of Nigeria want this secretariat and it has to be built in this administration. It is not an elite project, for instance the National center for women development today is serving the women and it was built by late Mariam Babangida.
‘If the country completes the Peace mission it is an honour to Nigeria because the African Peace mission has agreed that they should build the African Peace Mission for all the women of Africa, is it not a great thing to Nigeria?’ Bulus asked.
Addressing them, Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed dismissed views opposing the N4billion proposed for the rehabilitation of the African First Ladies Peace Mission.
Bala said the First ladies’ mission house is an embassy of the African Union which would enhance the diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
According to the minister, the structure is not owned by the people of Nigeria who have a responsibility to build the embassy for the African First Ladies noting that it was an inherited project by Dame Patience Jonathan from her predecessor in office, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua.
His words: “And just as you rightly said the African Peace Mission is the embassy of the African Union in Abuja. Her Excellency inherited this from her predecessor and we in the FCT we have a responsibility to build public building with ministry department and international organization.
“It is not our own building, it is your own building, because Nigeria a nation respected in the comity of nations and Nigeria promised to provide the secretariat. The way and manner we provided the ECOWAS secretariat.
“We are building the United Nations, is it in the constitution? The United Nations building is not in the constitution, the ECOWAS building is not in the constitution but it is a diplomatic practice based on reciprocity, we have to do it in order to make Nigeria great.
“Nigeria is recognized by all the African countries and the African First Ladies are establishing their secretariat for sensitization for mobilization because what we need in Africa is Peace and this Embassy of the African Union is here to bring peace so that the African woman be heard so that we can have development, the minister stated.