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Women group rallies support for Onyejeocha as 9th house of reps. speaker



A group, Advocates for Women Inclusion in Leadership (AWIL) has called for the emergence of Hon. Nkiru Onyejeocha as the Speaker of the Ninth House of Representatives.

She was first elected member of the Federal House of Representatives in 2007, and later re-elected in 2015.

At the NASS, Onyejeocha became Chairman of Women in Parliament and Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation.

Ndik Kato, the Convener of AWIL, made the call for support of Onyejeocha at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

She said that the 2019 race for the leadership of the house of reps. must be centred on value for the Nigerian people which Onyejeocha represented in abundance.

She said that the lawmaker had carved a political career from creating a system that worked for the greater good and sanctity of every Nigerian.

“We are not leaning on plea to consider one who is not qualified but standing on the capacity of a woman who has broken every limitation set before a woman.’’

Kato said that the lawmaker’s life mirrored the possibility of what Nigeria could be if the people stayed focused and build the country in spite of the odds.

“Onyejeocha’s effective leadership of the Committee on Aviation in 2011, ushered in the very visible reforms in the aviation sector which we are enjoying to this day,” she said.

Kato said that Onyejeocha had sponsored and fought for the bill for an act for compulsory treatment of victims of gunshot for which many Nigerians had lost their lives.

Kato also stated that the lawmaker had sponsored a bill for the establishment of senior citizens centres to cater for the need of aged and retired civil servants.

She said that Onyejeocha remained the most qualified of all the candidates jostling for the position of the speaker of the House of Reps.

According to the group, the lawmaker has both parliamentary, administrative, knowledge and executive experiences that will help her if elected to the office speaker.

“The 9th assembly is her fourth term in the house and this rare knowledge is good for a robust executive –legislative relations and interdependence needed at this crucial period.

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Women group advocate stiffer penalty for rapists to curb menace



Some concerned women in Lagos have joined other Nigerians to advocate for stiffer penalty for anyone found guilty of rape.

They spoke separately with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday bordering on the recent rise in rape cases in the country.

According to them, having stringent punishment such as death sentence would definitely reduce or stop the deadly act in the society.

Mrs Ruth Isibor, President of Catholic Women Organization, Saints Joachim and Anne parish, Ijegun, said that the act was becoming unbearable and posed threats to women and the girl-children.

Isibor said that government should consider death penalty as a law to serve as deterrent to other intending perpetrators.

“It’s high time strict measures were taken to arrest this evil act and unpleasant development in our society, I therefore, subscribe for death sentence on the rapists and offenders.

“At least other nonentities should have it in mind that when caught, they will face the law which boils down to loosing their lives for committing a grevious offence,” she said.

Mrs Ngozi Chukwuji, a grandmother, told NAN that some new generation of boys were committing abomination and toiling with their future by forcefully taking advantage of these girls.

“Everytime we hear cases of rape, girls being molested, abuse and all that, it is an abomination and the boys doing this have brought curse upon themselves already.

“But the government must begin to give this issue serious concern because it is gradually getting out of hand and parents are now scared of their girl child, ” she added.

She suggested that sending these heartless men to their early grave would scare intending rapists from conceiving the act.

A school proprietor, Mrs Ifesi Nwagu said that criminals would always give one thousand and one reasons why they committed such crimes for selfish reasons.

“There is no possible reason whatsoever that will make a man rape a woman especially minors when there are many commercial sex workers.

“Many commit this crime on daily basis and we don’t get to hear of it mainly because of the stigma attached to it and so prefer to suffer it by keeping quite,” she said.

Nwagu appealed to the government to ensure that these wicked acts against women was brought to halt by giving harsh and instant judgement such as castration the perpetrators.

She further advised private organisations and NGOs’ to support the government in eradicating this increasing inhuman act, adding that the girl-child and women were not objects for carnality.

A Gospel music artist, Mrs Paula Mbah however, recommended a non-optional life imprisonment for perpetrators.

Mr Nixon Adiri condemned the act, saying most guys that got themselves involved in such wicked act were heartless, jobless and beasts that should not be spared.

Edited By: Josephine Obute/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)



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Post COVID-19: Lagos Govt advises women to acquire skills, embrace agriculture



Mrs Cecelia Bolaji-Dada, Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, on Saturday advised women to embark on skills acquisition that would sustain them after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bolaji-Dada, who gave the advice at the monthly congress of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State Chapter’s Zoom Meeting, also enjoined women to embrace agriculture.

Theme of the Zoom Meeting was: “Post COVID -19: Financial Recovery and Empowerment Opportunity for Women.”

According to her, COVID-19 has started affecting the economies of the countries in a way that is leading to many job cuts and losses.

”We cannot wish COVID-19 and its impact away, but we must make deliberate efforts toward skill acquisition and engagement in agriculture.There is surely life after COVID-19.

“I strongly recommend that women in Lagos should go back to invest in agriculture. The time to invest in specific skills and agriculture is now,” she said.

The commissioner noted that women were often worst hit by the economic challenges, adding it was imperative for women to begin to evolve strategies for absorbing the shocks.

Bolaji-Dada said that various sectors were currently being adversely affected by the effects of COVID-19, and reminded women on the need to be proactive by acquiring skills and going into farming.

She said it was important for women to know that skills acquisition was one of the surest ways to achieving women empowerment and financial independence.

Bolaji-Dada said the state government has several vocational centres that had empowered many women in the state in various skills as well as gave them startups.

The commissioner, while thanking NAWOJ for its collaboration with her ministry and for choosing her as patron, promised to assist female journalists who were willing to go into agriculture.

She said that the state government currently had various agricultural programmes and other empowerment initiatives that had attracted women in the state.

In her remarks, Chairperson of NAWOJ in Lagos, Mrs Adeola Ekini, at the special congress dedicated to the first anniversary of her tenure in office, thanked the commissioner for her partnership with the association.

Ekini promised to make the list of female journalists and other programmes to the ministry.

She thanked members of the association for their supports.

Edited /Olagoke Olatoye

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Foundation empowers 100 infertility women in Nigeria



Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has empowered 100 infertility women in Nigeria to establish small businesses to be independent and rebuild their lives.

Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck said in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, that the foundation had supported the women, in collaboration with the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari.

According to her, the foundation has been partnering with Buhari, who is also the Ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’.

“We have been working to break the infertility stigma in the country and building equitable and quality healthcare capacity, through ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign.

Over 100 infertile women were supported to establish small business so that they can rebuild themselves and lead independent and happier lives.’’

Kelej said Merck foundation had provided training for embryologists in Nigeria to create a platform of local experts in the fertility care.

Merck Foundation has also provided two Nigerian doctors with one-year diabetes and hypertension post-graduate diploma training from University of South Wales, UK.

“We are fully committed to continuing providing specialised training in the fields of cancer, fertility and diabetes care to more doctors across Nigeria after the official launch,’’ she said.

According to her, First Ladies of 18 countries are part of the ambassadors of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’, leading and executing the initiatives in their respective countries.

“They are leading the initiative to empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility.

“This speaks volume about the work we are doing.

As a part of Merck More Than a Mother, we have been providing clinical training to candidates from Africa and Asia to establish a platform of fertility specialists and embryologists.

“So far, the number of Merck Foundation Alumni in this field is more than 185 candidates from 35 countries across Africa and Asia.

“Also, we have supported the establishment of the first-ever Public IVF centres in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda by training their staff to be able to support the infertile couples.’’

The official said she was proud of the success stories, saying “I always feel that they are my children and I am super proud of their success.

“It is very important to empower infertile women by providing treatment so they can bear children as part of their human rights.

“But, for those who cannot be treated anymore, Merck More Than a Mother’s initiative ‘Empowering Berna’ helps to train them to establish their own small business so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives’’.

Kelej also said that the foundation also worked with local singers, film-makers, media partners and fashion designers to raise awareness to break the stigma of infertility.

“These initiatives are very important for Nigeria since it is the hub of art and fashion, I cannot wait to explore these beautiful talents and work closely with them.

“The aim is to sensitise our communities that women are more than just mothers and men are more than just fathers.

“It takes both a man and a woman to have a child,’’ she said.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Two women killed in violent attacks in Carinthia, Austria




Two women were killed in violent attacks in Austria’s southernmost state Carinthia on Saturday morning and a major police operation has been carried out to hunt the suspect, reported local media.

In Drobollach am Faaker See (Villach municipality), a 56-year-old woman was shot on the open road at around 9 a.m. Saturday morning, according to a report by the Austrian Press Agency (APA).

Shortly before, according to the police, a 62-year-old woman was killed in Wernberg, but not with a firearm, said APA. Investigators assume that the two women were killed by one and the same perpetrator.

At noon, the police searched across the country for the perpetrator who was traveling in a white vehicle. Checkpoints were set up near the border crossings, the vehicles were guided through the checkpoints on the motorways, and the police helicopter was also in use.

There was no information about the motive for the two bloody deeds. Local media suspected that the alleged perpetrator could flee to Italy via the nearby border.


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NGO empowers 23,817 young girls, women in Kaduna



A Kaduna-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative (EWEI), said on Saturday that it had empowered 23,817 young boys, girls, and women in the last 12 years.

The Programme Officer of the NGO, Ms Grace Isah, made this known in a statement in Kaduna, as part of activities to celebrate 12 years of service to humanity.

Isah explained that with the support of partners, committed staff and mentors, EWEI had been delivering multi-sectoral interventions for the empowerment of girls and women.

Over the last 12 years we have watched with humility and thankfulness the 23,817 lives we have been able to touch positively, and this has kept us going.

“We have learned from our mistakes and successes over the years and we will continue to support women and girls access opportunities and resources they need to improve their wellbeing,” she said.

She said that the young girls, boys, and women were empowered under the NGOs various programmes and projects designed to impact positively on their lives.

She explained that EWEI’s Civic Education and Participation for Women Project (CEPWOP) addresses the under-representation of women and excluded groups in the political space.

Through CEPWOP, we are giving voice to women and girls and encouraging them to participate in governance.

Also, EWEI’s Educational Subsidy Programme (ESP) was designed to support girl child education, while the Economic Empowerment Partnership (EEP) programme builds the capacity of women and girls.

EEP assists economically disadvantaged women and out-of-school girls to source for micro-credit facilities as part of effort to help them out of poverty,” she said.

The programme officer added that EWEI also engaged young women and female professionals from Nigeria and around the world via its online chart platform for horizontal learning, networking, exchange, and mentorship.

She further said that the NGO, through its Getting Involved (GI) programme, was supporting and equipping youth to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals in their communities.

Similarly, since 2011, EWEI’s Know and Say No programme, had been raising awareness and strengthening institutional capacities to address gender-based violence (GBV).

“Our Safe Spaces project (OSS) equally supports women and girl survivors of gender-based violence by providing access to psychosocial support systems and economic empowerment opportunities to facilitate normalisation of their lives,” Isah said.

The officer said that EWEI would continue to encourage girls and women to harness their abilities and take more active roles in decision making and policy formation.

This, she said, would ensure that their voices were heard and taken seriously, following the hardship caused by insecurity, gender-based violence and poverty, as well as the uncertainty created by Coronavirus pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that EWEI was established in 2008 by Ms Safiya Ibn-Garba, to empower young girls and women through multi-sectoral interventions.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)



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COVID-19: NGO takes sensitization campaign to market, community, women leaders in Kaduna



An NGO, Second Chance Humanitarian Aid Foundation, on Friday organised a one day seminar on COVID-19 preventive measures for market, community and women leaders in Manchok, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Speaking at the event, Mrs Ladi Bala, founder of the foundation, said that the organisation considered it necessary to complement government efforts in creating awareness on coronavirus at the grassroots.

The founder, who was represented by Banta Bala, Project Coordinator of the Foundation, said people at grassroots needed much sensitisation because of their vulnerability, and creating such awareness would further give them  a sense of belonging.

“The rural dwellers need to be well informed on measures to avoid contracting and transmitting the virus.

“The government is doing her best but the bulk of the responsibility is on the people to do the needful, as such, we considered it needful to contribute our token in the fight against COVID-19,” she said.

Mr Peter Ibrahim, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Kaduna State Deputy Governor, harped on the need for behavioral change on the part of members of the public in the face of the pandemic.

“As much as the State Government is considering easing of the lockdown, people’s attitude especially in observing social distancing was a major challenge.

“I commend the organisers of the event, as it is part of government’s plans to engage critical stakeholders including, traditional and religious leaders, market groups and associations, amongst others in combating COVID-19,” he added.

Ibrahim urged participants to leverage on the lessons learnt at the seminar to further educate other members of the community.

Also speaking, Mr Sunday Tabishi, the Council Secretary, Kaura Local Government, commended the initiative, which according to him, was timely.

Tabishi urged the people to exercise more patience as the government was doing all within its power to bring succor to the people, particularly those at the grassroots.

Earlier, Mr Isaac Auta, a member  of the foundation, who spoke on Personal Hygiene, told participants to ensure regular washing of their hands, use of face masks and observe social distancing.

He said although there had not been any reported case of COVID-19 in the area, residents needed to observe the necessary precautionary measures, bearing in mind that the virus was real.

Malam Musa Buga, Head of Manchok market and Mrs Mageret Musa, Head of Women in the market, in their separate responses appreciated the NGO for the sensitisation, noting that it gave them a sense of belonging.

They assured the foundation of judicious use of the items they received and promised to enlighten others on lessons learnt at the seminar.

NAN reports that the seminar tagged, “COVID-19 Intervention Project”, saw presentation of 1,000 face masks as well as 10 hand washing basins to be placed at the Local Government Secretariat and the market place.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Okota Rotary Club empowers women, donate ICT, first AID kits to schools



Rotary Club of Okota, District 9110, says it has empowered five women, donated ICT equipment, fully kitted first aid boxes and supply note books to some schools in Okota Community area of Lagos State.

Its President, Ronke Jones-Adewale, said that the donations were part of the “Three in One” project embarked upon by the club.

It was tagged: “Basic Education and Literary Project”.

Jones-Adewale said items donated by the club to the beneficiaries included complete ICT system unit with all in one printer, universal power supply.

In the empowerment programme, each beneficiary woman got Ex large insulated cooling container, plastic cooler, five cartoons of soft drinks, five cartoons of bottled water and stipends for ice blocks.

She said that the basic education and literary project comprised fully kitted first aid kits and 1,500 note books to six schools within Okota and Oke-Afa areas.

The club president said that donations to the schools were continuous programme.

She said that the first aid boxes had been introduced in some schools in line with the Motto of Rotary: “Doing Good in the World, Service To Humanity”.

The club leader said that four out of the six schools had been enjoying the club’s programme before two other schools were added.

Jones-Adewale said that the complete ICT system unit with all in one printer and universal power supply were donated to two secondary schools in Okota, which made the total number of beneficiary schools to be eight.

She said that the donation was in tandem with what Rotary International stands for all over the world.

Jones-Adewale said that basic education was one of the six areas of focus as the bedrock and future of any nation in the 21st century.

“Regarding the empowerment, the impact is definitely going to be felt by the beneficiaries, their dependants and invariably the community.

“The items of empowernment will shore up the income base of the beneficiaries, the entire value chain involved in delivering the service, while also providing satisfaction to the consumers in whichever community they might be operating their businesses,” she said.

Commenting, Mr Jide Oderinde, the club Secretary, said that the effect of COVID-19 on Rotary Club generally had been very disastrous.

Oderinde said: “It has really held us back from doing our normal things, but still we went ahead under the leadership of a determined president.”

The secretary said that both international and at the centre, most of our meetings are now virtual, like this programme that we did today, we supposed to have done it long time ago, this Rotary year, the president is so committed.

“I salute her courage she went ahead and make sure that she accomplished all her set goals, because we are rounding up the Rotary year.

“But we thanked God, we are law abiding organisation; we don’t go contrary to the government directive.

“But, we put all the recommendations laid by government into place during the programme, we ensure we maintain social distances,” he said.

Oderinde said that the club president had completed her set goals.

Earlier, Mrs Tiitlope Okubadejo, a former President and Chairman Service Project, said that Rotary delighted to see people expressing their joy and satisfaction about what the club has been able to do for them.

Okubadejo said all these we have done today were just to ensure that we affect the lives of our community positively.

“Whenever we rise up between the Okota Community that we are from Rotary, we are happy the way people welcome us, because they know that we are positively impacting their lives,” she said.

A beneficiary, Mrs Bolanle Ariyo, said she was very happy that the club did not wait for the big things to happen before empowering them.

Ariyo said that she did not know anybody from the club, but was nominated to be among the beneficiaries, adding that what was given to her would go a long way, especially at this point in time.

She prayed that none of the club members will be victims of COVID-19.

Also, Mrs Mojisola Adeyoyin, the Headmistress, Low Cost Primary School II, responding on behalf of all beneficiary schools, said that the club had just addressed one of the major needs of pupils in her school.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID -19: Gov.’s wife trains 60 women on face masks, hand sanitisers production in Zamfara



Wife of Zamfara Governor,  Hajiya Aisha Bello-Matawalle has trained 60 women in production  of face masks and hand sanitisers, as part efforts to control  spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Speaking while flagging off the training in Gusau on Thursday, the governor’s wife’s  said: “This is another good response to the COVID -19 prevention plans for people of the state under Gov.  Bello Matawalle’s administration

“Few weeks ago, my office made relentless efforts to cushion the effect of the lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic among our women and vulnerable groups across the state.

“We provided palliatives and preventive materials including hand sanitisers, face masks, hand gloves, soaps, sensitisation flyers, clothing materials and foodstuffs.

“Our support to women in the state will still continue in the wake of the pandemic.

 “We deemed it imperative to mobilise local tailors from grassroots to produce home made PPEs.

“It is my honour today to launch the Mask-up Zamfara initiative programme sponsored under my office, which is a hand sanitisers and face masks production training programme for women in response to  COVID 19 prevention in the state.”

According to her, the training program which is targeting 20 women in each of the three senatorial zones, will be scaled up to all the fourteen Local Government Areas of the state.

“The training is aimed at capacity building for women and also to equip them to produce massive numbers of face masks and hand sanitisers as well as impacting the knowledge to other women.

 “Though Zamfara has been declared COVID-19 free, but the dust is yet to settle across the country.

“I hope that this initiative will bring positive impact on  the lives of women and children in the state,” she said.

She noted that the effort would make face masks and hand sanitisers more accessible to people at the grassroots level as part of government’s efforts of protecting people from infectious diseases.

“I want to use this medium to express my gratitude to my husband,  for his incessant support and advise to this laudable initiative, which amongst others has led to many tremendous successes.

I pray for Allah’s guidance and support for  his leadership to move the state to greater level,” she said.

The  governor’s wife urged women in the state to continue to take steps to protect themselves and their children against COVID-19 and other diseases.

She also appealed to people of the state to continue with prayers to Allah to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic all over the world.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Kudirat Abiola: Women Arise marks 24 years remembrance of late MKO’s wife



Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise, has saluted the efforts of Late Kudirat Abiola and other activists who fought for the return of democracy to the country.

In her tribute to the pro-democracy activist who was killed 24 years ago, Okei-Odumakin described Kudirat as a “slain heroine and mother of the struggle for democracy in Nigeria”.

She said that 24 years after Kudirat Abiola was killed, the wife of late winner of the annuled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, was still fresh in the minds of pro-democracy activists.

According to Okei-Odumakin, Kudirat stood like a colossus amongst the army of democracy defender, who stoutly resisted the unjust diktat that was the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election results.

The late Kudirat Abiola roared like a lion at many pro-democracy gatherings and marches and the vile dictators and their cohort trembled with trepidation.

“For her stubborn and uncompromising defence of principles, she was killed on the street of Lagos on June 4, 1996,” she said.

Okei-Odumakin said that pro-democracy activists remember Kudirat today despite the coronavirus pandemic that had made impossible physical gathering like they used to do in her honour.

She urged other activists to remain steadfast on the principle she died for and continue their demand for an end to wanton killings in the land.

Okei-Odumakin said they were also calling for the freedom for Leah Sharibu and all others in the gulag of terrorists.

“To those of them that have paid with their life, you did not die in vain. You died for our collective struggle and we will always remember what you stood for.

To Kudirat, whose date and fond memories vile dictators and their repressive measures could not obliterate.

To Kudirat whose contributions and sacrifice no pandemic can override or overrule,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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