Alhaji Nuhu Sanusi, the Emir of Dutse, Jigawa State, has called on the Federal Government to give women loans at four or five per cent interest rates, to improve their economic well-being.
The Emir said this at the opening of a three-day conference on integration of Gender and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Perspectives in Nigeria’s Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The workshop was organised by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and the Australian government.
It has as its theme: “Strengthening Women’s Involvement in PPPs (SWIP 3): Delivering gender-responsive PPPs in support of the SDGs.”
Sanusi said that the National Assembly needs to enact laws that would compel banks to assist women, adding that what was obtainable in the banks would not in any way give women the chance to improve themselves.
“What is happening now in the mainstream banks is that women do not have the collateral to go and borrow and they do not have the educational capacity to fill the requirements that are basically unnecessary for women and small scale operators.
“I wish the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is here today. They keep boasting that they have supported particularly women in improving their economic well-being and I am yet to be convinced that they have really done so.
“They should tell us how much has been expended on small scale women sensitive programmes.
“They give loans to the mainstream banks at maybe two per cent and those ones give them at 18 per cent.
“Unless you are dealing in crime, there is no way you can borrow money in this country either for agriculture or manufacturing and be able to pay at 18 per cent interest.
“So if we really want to improve on gender and are serious in doing this, we will have to give women four or five per cent interest rate loans for their projects,” the Emir said.
He advocated for special priority to be given to girls up to secondary school level, adding that women’s level of education was still very low.
Mrs Aisha Buhari, the First Lady, while delivering the keynote address, said the integration of gender perspectives in infrastructure development especially in PPP design and implementation would greatly address many gaps in the nation’s infrastructure delivery.
Buhari was represented by Dr Hajo Sani, Senior Special Assistant to the Wife of the President on Administration.
Buhari also said it would have profound impact on the socio-economic growth and transformation of the nation to enhance the living conditions of women.
She said that gender disparities not only rob women of basic rights and opportunities but also impede’s the nation’s development outcomes.
“This event symbolises the premium we place on closing the gender gap and I will be delighted to learn that this gathering of eminent women leaders, professionals, heads of agencies and indeed all Nigerians will support the critical integration going forward.
“We must promote and imbibe gender-responsive infrastructure that supports the SDGs to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”
According to her, doing this will collectively address global challenges including those related to poverty, disparities, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.
Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, ICRC, said many infrastructure projects and programmes were gender blind.
“It is assumed that women and men will automatically benefit from new infrastructure, without due acknowledgement to the full range of social and economic impacts, both beneficial and negative.
“Too often, the positive outcomes experienced by women through infrastructural projects have been unintended and unplanned,” he said.
He said that infrastructure and PPP projects should be designed to increase women’s economic opportunities, provide appropriate services to women and actively involve and empower women.
Izuwah added that they must also encourage women to take up decision making and leadership roles and eliminate discrimination against girls and women.
Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Country Director, Nigeria, African Development Bank (AfDB), said as at 2018, the continent had an infrastructure gap of 130 to 180 billion dollars , with an annual financing gap of 60 to 80 billion dollars.
He added that the fiscal space that was available to the governments to fill the gap was very small, so there was the need to find innovative mechanisms.
“Private partnerships are very critical to our work and the private sector needs to be deeply involved in making sure that the deficit gap is addressed in the continent,” Faal said.
Faal also said that gender perspectives in PPP were important entry points for advancing equity and within PPP frameworks, integrating gender was crucial.
This, he said, was because commitments in PPP could ensure that bankable projects promote equality and enhance women equal participation in and access to infrastructure services.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria , to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.
Edited by Abiodun Esan/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Jigawa reopens 40 schools, directs all workers to resume duty
Gov. Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa on Monday announced the immediate reopening of 40 schools in the state and also directed all categories of civil servants to return to work from Aug. 4.
The governor, who made this known while briefing newsmen in Dutse, also directed the Ministries of Health and Education to come up with time schedules for running the programme under strict compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the recalling of the workers came few weeks after officers from level 12 and above had resumed.
NAN reports that the state government had initially directed its workers to work from home for two weeks from March 24 and continually expanded the order so as to protect workers from being exposed to COVID-19.
Badaru said the decision to recall all workers back to their duty posts was sequel to the progress recorded in terms of compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures after recalling those in the category of level 12 and above few weeks ago.
According to him, government will adopt the same strategy across the workforce in all the ministries and departments in order to ensure total compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.
He, however, said that the 40 schools would be selected from primary, junior, senior and private secondary schools from the three senatorial zones of the state.
The governor assured parents and guardians that other schools would also be reopened gradually if there were some improvements in terms of compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures in the selected 40 schools.
Badaru also announced that the state had no single COVID-19 patient for now, adding that the only remaining suspected patient had been discharged after being tested and confirmed negative.
Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Eid-el-Kabir: Ganduje frees 29 inmates
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has freed 29 inmates who were serving different jail terms at the Goron-Dutse Prison in Kano.
The governor, who ordered the release of the inmates during his visit to the prison in Kano on Friday, said the gesture was in the spirit of activities of Eid-el-Kabir.
Ganduje said that the beneficiaries of the gesture were selected based on the gravity of offence and sign of reformation while in prison.
He added that the decision to visit the prison was to show the inmates that the state government was aware of their existence and that they were also regarded as citizens of the state.
He, however, advised the freed inmates to desist from acts that would warrant bringing them back to prison.
He said that each of the inmates would be given N5,000 to enable them travel to their destination.
The comptroller of Prisons, Abdullahi Magaji, commended Ganduje for freeing the inmates.
Magaji also advised the freed inmates to be of good character and stay off crimes to avoid going back to prison.
The governor was accompanied to the centre by his deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, and some members of the cabinet. (NAN )
Edited By: Emmanuella Anokam/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Sallah: FRSC deploys 356 personnel, 3 ambulances in Jigawa
The Jigawa Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said it had deployed 356 personnel to ensure the safety of motorists and other road users during the Eid-el-Kabir break in the state.
Mr Ado Adamu, the FRSC spokesman in the state, made this known in a statement in Dutse on Thursday.
It said that the personnel deployed consisted of 89 officers, 267 marshals and 1000 special marshals.
The command said seven patrol vehicles and three life supporting ambulances were also mobilized for a 10-day Sallah Special Patrol, which commenced on July 29.
“The FRSC is ready to bring to book, drivers and motorists who are found violating traffic regulations before, during and after the festivity,” it warned.
Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa (NAN)
Police probe alleged electrocution of toddler in Jogawa
The Jigawa Police Command has commenced investigation into alleged electrocution of a toddler, Yahaya Salihu.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Gomna, told newsmen that the incident occurred on Sunday in Dutse.
The police chief said that two persons had been invited for questioning from the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) in connection with the incident.
Gomna also said that he directed the State Criminal Investigation Department to take over the case for thorough investigation and possible prosecution of those responsible for the electrocution of the three-year-old boy.
When contacted, KEDCO Spokesman, Sani Shawai, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the company was aware of the incident but insisted that their personnel were not liable for the alleged electrocution.
Shawai said that the company had disconnected and cleared the cables that were brought down by the storms immediately the incident was reported to their office.
He also alleged that some residents might have reconnected the cables illegally thereby resulting in the electrocution.
The spokesman warned customers against any form of illegal connection or reconnection.
Shawai also announced that the company had already set up a team from its safety and environmental unit to conduct an investigation into the incident.
However, the father of the boy, Abdullahi Salihu, said he immediately reported the storms incident which brought down the cables in front of his shop at Bakokwato quarters in Dutse to KEDCO.
Salihu said that he had to do that urgently because of the fear of the danger associated with such problem in the community, not knowing his child would be the victim.
He said that he would ensure justice over the alleged electrocution of his child which he blamed on the company’s negligence.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)