The Senate Committee on Women Affairs has appealed to the Senate Committee on Appropriation to support an increase on the budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Women Affairs for development of Women in the Country.
Sen. Stella Oduah,(PDP Anambra North)and a member of the Committee made the call on Monday in Abuja, while presenting report of the committee on budget defence of the ministry before Senate Committee on Appropriation.
Oduah, who represented the Chairman of the Women Affairs Committee, Sen. Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers) said the five billion naira allocated to the ministry was grossly inadequate.
Oduah who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian women and on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee said: “please, looking at the allocation given to the Nigerian women, five billion naira is grossly inadequate.
“We should take into cognisance that Nigerian women constitute 61 per cent of the total population.
“It means that for us to progress this country, for us to have impactful social economic development, we must make sure that women are part of that process.
“And for that to happen, we must empower Nigerian women and we cannot empower Nigerian women with five billion naira.
“It is grossly inadequate, and so we think as sisters, mothers, we should support them to participate in this growth economy by ensuring that it goes above five billion naira.”
Oduah said the women were looking out for intervention in several ways.
She, however said the first area of intervention was for them to be accorded recognition, noting that women were grossly under represented in everywhere.
“Women cannot participate unless and until they are empowered.
“And so for all that to happen, clearly what it means is that we must recognise that though we are 61 per cent but out of that 61 per cent of the total population, almost half dwell in our rural communities and most of them are stakeholders.
“So we must uplift their lives, the way to do that is to make sure we train, equip them financially so they will be able trade and to make sure they have educational opportunity and skill acquisition is given to them,” Oduah said.
According to her the women are not asking for something or anything to be given to them for free.
She, however, said the women were asking for things that would sustain them.
“Already, Women Affairs made a presentation; we didn’t so much like their presentation.
“And then we sat down with legislative women and we agreed that the way forward will be to ensure that women’s lives are uplifted.
“So in uplifting them, several things would need to be done.
“We must train them, we must empower them and we must enable them by making sure we give them an enabling environment, for all inclusive-women participation in the growth of the economy.”
Responding, Sen.Ibikunle Amosun (APC Ogun) said it was important to look into the request and increase the budgetary allocations of the women ministry.
Sen. Abba Moro (PDP Benue) also said he supports the increase in budgetary allocation to the women affairs.
He however, said there was need for the women to be specific on areas to channel the increase in funding.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Barau Jibril (APC Kano) said everyone was in support of development of Nigerian women, noting that it was one of the agenda of the Senate.
He said the committee via the approval of the entire Senate would look into the request with the possibility of supporting the ministry given the availability of funds. (NAN)