PRESS BRIEFING BY HONORABLE MINISTER FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS
PRESS BRIEFING BY HONOURABLE MINISTER FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS DAME PAULINE K. TALLEN, OFR, KSG, AT THE FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF 2021 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATION HELD ON MONDAY 1ST MARCH 2021 AT THE MINISTRY’S CONFERENCE ROOM
Today,1st of March is designated as “Zero Discrimination Day” and going by the current events in our dear country We say are burdened by the ongoing terror attacks and insurgencies on the lives of citizens especially our children!This is an annual worldwide event that promotes diversity and recognizes that everyone counts irrespective of race or gender and with that in mind we are reminded to rise up and play our part as our children have become targets. Together we say No to discrimination against the rights of every Nigerian; all vices of seeming oppression in our society and the world at large. The safety of every individual is key to promoting non-discrimination and today we say Enough is Enough!
- Let’s therefore begin by reflecting on the lives of our brave citizens; please may I request that you all join me to observe a minute silence in honour of our fallen gallant young Officers, who lost their lives in the ill-fated NAF plane crash, while on a mission to rescue the kidnapped Kagara School Boys on Sunday, 21st March, 2021.May their souls rest in peace…Amen!
- Even as we rejoice over the release of the recently abducted Students and Teachers of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger State, we were again woken up to yet another dastardly act of abduction of scores of school girls from Government Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Marafa LGA of Zamfara State in the early hours of Friday, 26th February, 2021. This is indeed a set-back in the gains made in advancing girl-child education in the country. The frequency of these kidnappings are meant to instill fear in our citizens and undermine our corporate existence and we will not be deterred. We call on our security operatives to make heed and treat this with all sense of emergency and justice to ensure this does not occur again. We hereby appeal to the conscience of the captors of our young innocent girls to release these children.
- As the Minister of Women Affairs, my heart is torn into pieces at the mindlessness of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity. We will continue to pray for the President-Muhammadu Buhari as he continues to pilot the affairs of our great Nation. While commending the efforts of all those who were involved in this rescue mission, we are appealing to our Leaders at all levels to pay attention to the infrastructural development and security of our schools. These schools contribute largely in shaping the mindsets of students and must be properly furnished and secured to provide a holistic development of the Nigerian child.
- From the available statistics between 2014 when the Chibok Girls were kidnapped to now about 1,157 students have been kidnapped in seven years. This is unbelievable and we must not stay silent anymore, we owe it to our children to push until something happens.The case of Rejoice Raymond, an old woman who allegedly runs a so-called Ministry where she pounds children inside a mortar for rituals is still fresh in our minds. As we speak, the Honourable Commissioner of Women Affairs is on top of the case alongside the Police Commissioner in Anambra State. I am also following up on the matter and will not rest on our oars to bring justice to these children and others who have suffered one form of violence or the other.One is tempted to ask what has happened to our humanity as citizens of a great Nation. Indeed, the lyrics of stanza 2 of the Women’s Anthem summarize the focus of the 2021 theme as it speaks to what women’s leadership brings to the table.
- Nigeria as a member State of the United Nations, will join other countries of the world on the 8th March to take stock of how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. With the growing demands of western feminist groups and women working in UN Agencies, women’s issues took a frontline burner on the global development agenda. It is pertinent to note that Women struggled to influence Government policies as they affect women in access to equal education and employment opportunities as well as fair justice because we are not given a seat at the table. Consequently, in 1967, the U.N. adopted the “Declaration of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women,” which recognized the inequities and discrimination women face worldwide and we hope to make progress.
- This year’s theme beams a searchlight on the tremendous efforts made by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. The theme is aligned with the priority theme of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which calls for Women’s Right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end to all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.
- The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as the National Machinery through which the Federal Government of Nigeria addresses issues and concerns of women and children and other vulnerable persons will in the next few days roll out activities to mark this day. Let me pause at this time to appreciate our Non-Governmental partners (NGOs), who have continuously believed in our goal of leading the Nigeria Gender Agenda. We remain extremely grateful and proud of what you do out there to keep the issues on the front burner.
- Women bear the brunt of the health, social and economic fallouts of Covid-19, yet their participation and decision–making in pandemic responses fails to reflect this. I will always maintain and without sounding like a broken record that any response to Covid-19, without women’s equal participation and inclusion, as well as addressing discrimination in all its forms and dimensions, in order to truly leave no one behind will be meaningless.
- We are happy to witness a renewed commitment by this present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to redress the persistent disparity in participation of men and women in decision making positions, not only within the country, but also at the global scene. Nigerian women are indeed grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for displaying such rare commitment in pushing for the appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the First Woman and First African to lead the World Trade Organization. As Nigerian Women, this is a statement that Nigeria has great women with great potential and right qualifications, to speak for this country at all levels.
- The mood of the nation at this time is a clarion call for all mothers to stand up to support us to protect the rights of every child and citizen of this great Nation. We must unite and keep our differences, so that we can together, win this war against terrorism which has permeated our society. When women cry, the Almighty hears and so, while praying we must look inwards to see where we have missed it. We must go back to the drawing board to ensure that we guard the sanctity of our God-given roles.
- If you see something, Do something!!!