…Food Security, Skill Development, Others Take Centre Stage, Says Ambode’s Wife
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Emmanuel Udom and his counterpart in Adamawa State, Alhaji Jibrilla Bindo are among top dignitaries expected to grace this year’s edition of the 2017 of the National Women Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO).
Addressing journalists at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa on Wednesday, Chairperson and wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Bolanle Ambode said the wife of the Vice President would serve as the mother of the day and also declare the conference open with Governor Udom would be the Special Guest of honour, while Governor Bindo will declare the conference closed.
Mrs Ambode said this year’s Conference, which has its theme as ‘She Creates, She Transforms’, will hold between October 24 and 26, 2017 at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, said other renowned facilitators drawn from all walks of life would give insight on selected relevant topics, ranging from Networking Etiquette, Women in Agriculture, Women Empowerment, financing options for businesses, among other issues.
She said the theme of the conference was carefully selected and would focus on the ingenuity of Nigerian women in the pursuit of innovative and practical solutions towards achieving sustainable development within her immediate sphere and community at large.
“You will agree with me that women are uniquely created, endowed with skills and blessed with creativity. As helpmates, we care for the family and impact our immediate environment positively. The woman out of very little creates, she transforms the little created to something bigger and better. Our transformation efforts extend to all facets of human engagement”, she said.
Besides, the wife of the Governor said there would be presentation of certificates of appreciation to notable individuals and organisations for their long-standing partnership and support for COWLSO, while an award of inspirational women of the year would also be presented to a distinguished Nigerian woman achiever, who has excelled in her chosen career, mentored other women and has supported the vision of the group.
The COWLSO chairman explained that buses would be stationed at Yaba, Mile 2, Berger, Agege, Iyana Ipaja and Ajah, to convey the women to and from the venue of the Gala Night expected to hold Wednesday, 25th October.
She also disclosed that the gala night will feature a raffle draw with opportunity for participants to win brand new cars and other mouth watering prizes.
Mrs. Ambode said the annual conference was part of the strategic intervention of COWLSO to support the activities of Lagos State Government, especially with regard to women development and empowerment.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday counseled victims of breast cancer not to see the disease as death sentence but rather embrace early medical solution to overcome it.
Governor Ambode, who said this while receiving the wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu at Lagos House, Ikeja on courtesy visit with members of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), said it was time for people to see solution to the disease from medical point of view and not only view it from spiritual or cultural points.
The Governor said though it was true that there is spiritualism, but that the common-sense approach to overcome breast cancer is to seek early medical solution.
He said: “This is more about the people at the lower level. People talk so much about spiritual issue on cancer. Yes, there is spiritualism but again there is common sense. This is obviously more about common sense and we don’t want to continue to lose our people.
“On our part as government, we will do more of public enlightenment, we will do more of advocacy and whatever it is that the association is doing, I want to be put in the front burner because I want to be a partner in this. I believe that anybody having good health, there is hope for good life and that is the way we should treat every citizen that we come across in the course of our duty.”
The Governor commended Mrs. Akeredolu for coming up with the initiative to raise awareness about breast cancer, and pledged to do everything necessary to support the overall objective of the group.
He said: “The most significant part of this is that you (Akeredolu) happen to be the President of the association, not because you are the First Lady of Ondo State, but because of the fact that you have been a survivor and an advocate of the issue of breast cancer prior to becoming the First Lady and that is very significant for me.
“I say this not because you are a survivor but because you are a proud one at that and also trying to send a message that breast cancer is not a death sentence. Twenty years after surviving it, you are seated here and we are propagating something that we should also sell to all Nigerians.
“The strong point of this association is more about advocacy to liberate our people from all these cultural myth and things that have actually held us down and eventually allowing Nigerians that have been held down by this to become part of the productive sector of the country which is the main purpose.
“When we are able to solve this; when we are able to advocate very well on the issue of cancer, we are technically increasing the GDP of Nigeria because it then means that more people will be part of the production sector,” the Governor said.
He said the State Government, through the Ministry of Health and other agencies was already doing a lot on issue of breast cancer, but that more efforts would be geared toward scaling up the advocacy especially at the grassroots.
Besides, Governor Ambode also appreciated the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu for his efforts in securing the release of the six students of Igbonla-Epe Model College.
Earlier, Mrs Akeredolu said she was at Lagos House to introduce BRECAN to the Governor as part of activities marking the formal launch of the Lagos State chapter of the association on Friday, as well as seek the support and partnership of the State Government to jointly tackle cancer in the country.
The Ondo First Lady, who formed the association twenty years ago after surviving breast cancer, said the main objective of BRECAN was to raise awareness and advocacy about the issue, saying that early detection and medical solution is key to save victim.
“People now misconstrue the issue of breast cancer to be a cultural issue or spiritual attack and so they resort to prayer centres. But the truth is that breast cancer is a medical issue. Early detection and care is key. If you notice any unusual change in your breast, go for check-up and not prayer centres,” she said.
Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode has urged lawyers to evolve new ways of making more progress on gender equality, women development and child welfare, saying that no society can achieve rapid development when children and women are relegated to the background.
Speaking at the African Women Lawyers Association’s parley, held at Victoria Island, Lagos, as part of activities marking the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mrs. Ambode said it was important for members of the legal profession, especially the women among them to be at the vanguard of championing the course of issues relating to the welfare and development of women and children.
The wife of the Governor, who was decorated as Matron and Mother of the African Child at the parley, also lauded the contributions of women lawyers towards improvements recorded in child and women rights in the State, the country and the continent.
She said children and women in Nigeria and Africa faced a brighter future because of steady progress recorded in the area of their rights, noting that it was gratifying that Lagos State was the first to pass the Child Rights Law, following the footprints of the Federal Government.
Aside the Child Rights Law, Mrs. Ambode said it is on record that the State had also passed a law against domestic violence.
According to her, “Lagos State has taken proactive steps in this direction. It was the first State in the country to pass the Child Rights Law after the Federal Government pioneered the process in 2003. Under the law, children are fully protected and those who infringe on those rights are apprehended and prosecuted.
“The State also has a law in place against domestic violence. The law protects women and children against all forms of violence in the home. Through these laws, Lagos State has ensured that women and children are reasonably insulated from reckless rights infringements with impunity.”
Also speaking, Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, represented by Mrs. Abiola Soladoye, praised the contributions of women lawyers to the growth of legal practice, just as she urged them to reinvent themselves and translate their numerical strength to positive actions.
In her welcome address, President of the association, Mrs. Mandy Demechi-Asagba, noted that the group stood for the protection, promotion and presentation of the rights and interest of women and children in Nigeria and Africa, stressing that they condemned all forms of violence against women, including sexual assault, child molestation, rape, child marriage, genital mutilation, abduction and other forms of discrimination and violence against them.
She said: “The association seeks to change the course of the 21st century, addressing key challenges as inequality, poverty and violence against women and girls, and stressed that violence against women and children is at its peak and requires emergency, desperate, deliberate and purposeful action before it consumes all.”
On her part, the guest speaker, Mrs. Nana Oye Lithur, who noted that child marriage was a global issue, urged the Nigerian chapter of the association to take the lead in the push for new laws to protect the rights of women and the girl-child from barbaric practices.
The parley was attended by prominent women lawyers including the first woman Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Lady Folake Sholanke.
…Distributes Cash, Skill Support Equipment, Others
To celebrate the 2017 International Widows’ Day, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode on Thursday empowered at least 103 widows across age category with financial assistance, equipment support and skills training programme, during an event organized by her foundation, Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, HOFOWEM, at Oregun, Ikeja.
Empowerment materials distributed to the women included deep freezers, industrial gas cookers, photocopiers, grinding machines, embroidery machines, professional cameras, refrigerators, whipping machines and ovens, bag sewing machines, grinding machines, among others.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Ambode noted that her foundation was established with the overriding objective of addressing major challenges confronting women and children, including poverty.
She said widows as some of the most vulnerable in society, needed support, hence the move by the foundation to empower them for self-reliance towards earning regular personal income.
According to her, “We had carefully studied the situation and discovered that this category of persons is the hardest hit by social circumstances around them. This is the reason our Foundation is focusing on them namely: the children, women, widows, the youth and the aged women”.
“Some days back, the world celebrated the 2017 edition of the Widow’s Day and to commemorate this, HOFOWEM decided to raise the stakes, packaging this programme for 103 widows still in their active years. This is to help them have a means of income”, she said.
Speaking further, she said the foundation decided to enlist the relatively younger widows for training in skills of their choice, to go with monthly allowance and would be supported with business equipment upon graduation, while the other two categories of women would get equipment support or financial assistance to expand their businesses.
‘This arrangement is designed to guarantee for you a stable means of income, to help meet your needs, those of your children, as well as your loved ones. It is hoped that this will bring more self-confidence for you, joy into your hearts and smiles to your faces’, she remarked.
Mrs. Ambode counseled the widows not to confuse their path with their destination.
She said, “To the beneficiaries, I live you with these words of encouragement, do not confuse your path with your destination. Just because it is stormy now does not mean you aren’t headed for sunshine. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen to you. Never give up hope”.
The Governor’s wife, who thanked Power Oil and the Bank of Industry for collaborating with the foundation, as well as individual and corporate supporters, stressed that the foundation was working to complement the children and women-friendly programs of the state government.
Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Ms. Oyefunke Adeleke, who thanked the founder for approving and supporting the empowerment programme, recalled the several challenges facing widows, promising that the foundation would continue to seek succor for them as it had done in the past.
According to her, “At HOFOWEM, we believe in putting smiles on the faces of those we come across and this we would continue to do, especially with the less privileged in our society. Everybody deserves somebody who makes them look forward to tomorrow. And that is who we are at HOFOWEM, providing the shoulder to lean on”.
While educating the women on their rights under the law, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, listed various forms of social infraction and widow abuses against them contrary to law, adding however, that they should always approach relevant agencies of the state government, for legal help towards redress for free of charge.
She said, “The greatest weapon of war against all forms of abuse is speaking out. Once a victim develops the courage to speak out and seek help, the problem is half solved. This is because without the victim there will be no war to fight”.
For help, she urged the women to approach the Office of the Administrator-General and Public Trustee; Directorate of Citizen’s Rights; Office of the Public Defender; Family Court; Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; the Police or call emergency numbers 08036256457, 07032165181, 112 or 767.
Commissioner for Women Affairs in the State, Hon Lola Akande, Mrs. Susan Akande and Mrs Eniola Akinsete in their remarks urged the women to take advantage of the various skill acquisition centres in the state and the financial support to be provided by Bank of Industry at zero interest.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries in an emotion-ladden remarks Mrs. Celestina Osundiya, commended Mrs. Ambode for what she described as her thoughtfulness, kindness and unequalled passion to improve the welfare of less privileged persons.