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Presidency assures women of improved deal as ECOWAS, centre advocate more leadership slots

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UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon (left); UNAIDS Country Director, Erasmus Morah; Executive Director, UNAIDS, Mrs. Winnie Byanyima; President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Health, Dr. Ehanire Osagie and Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari during a visit by the Executive Director UNAIDS to the president…yesterday.

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured women of their pride of place in his administration.

He gave the assurance yesterday when he received the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Mrs. Winnie Byanyima, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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“Women hold strategic positions in this administration. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is headed by a woman. The Civil Service of the Federation is headed by a woman and many others like that. We will continue to do our best to empower our women,” Buhari pledged.

On infrastructure renewal, the President pointed out that Nigeria lost good opportunities, adding: “But we can’t continue to cry over spilt milk. We are now doing our best in concert with some developed countries.”

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The visitor described Buhari as “a Nigerian and African hero”, lauding his firm handling of the COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS scourges.

ALSO, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that “ensuring the education of women and empowering them is an existential issue for Nigeria and the rest of Africa.”

He said holding women down meant holding their societies down too.

A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, quoted Osinbajo as making the remarks on Monday in a keynote address at a webinar organised by Women In Africa (WIA) in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).

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He contributed on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Choose to challenge.”

BESIDES, Director General of the National Centre for Women Development, (NCWD), Mary Ekpere-Eta, has called on rural women and girls to participate actively in elections.

She made the appeal during a media briefing to mark the event titled “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” in Abuja.

ALSO yesterday, the ECOWAS Commission canvassed better leadership prospects for women in the region, as the world gradually overcomes the coronavirus crisis.

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Its Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, encouraged women to aspire for the top leadership posts in the sub-region.

“You, the Amazons in the House, can help in realising this. What is wrong with having a woman as the next President of ECOWAS Commission or Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament? Why do we have gender parity on appointments of commissioners/statutory appointees at the African Union Commission and not in ECOWAS?” she charged.

Earlier, Vice President of the commission, Mrs. Finda Koroma, said millions of women were championing the rebuilding of economies and justice in the world.

In her contribution, wife of ECOWAS Commission President and godmother of ECOWAS Amazons, Mrs. Jacqueline Brou, regretted that women had perennially been discriminated against.

She submitted that the ascension of women to decision-making positions was a catalyst for progress, stability, peace and development.

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