Senate panel laments state of women centre
The Senate has lamented over the dilapidated state of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) at the Central Business District, Abuja.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West), accused men of always lording it over women even “in areas of gender responsibilities like the Ministry of Women Affairs, NCWD and numerical advantage.”
The NCWD, which is opposite the head office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was established in 1992 as development-driven research and policy formulation as well as a gender and capacity-building centre for women, particularly during the Better Life for Rural Women Programme of the late Maryam Babangida era.
When established about three decades ago, the centre was one of the state-of-the-art edifices that made Abuja thick, particularly its auditorium of about 500 seats.
Lamenting the sorry state of the centre while fielding questions from journalists after submitting the 2022 budget proposals for the Ministry of Women Affairs, Apiafi, said no money was earmarked for the renovation of the NCWD despite its dilapidated status.
“During the 2022 budget submission to the appropriation committee, the passionate appeal was made by me for the committee to look for money for the required rehabilitation of the centre.
“It is worrisome that out of the N5 billion earmarked for the ministry in the 2022 budget, nothing was allocated for rehabilitation work at the centre,” the lawmaker said.
She, however, said water would surely be squeezed out of stone as far as required money to rehabilitate the centre is concerned. She added that attention would be focused on grants from foreign donors for the rehabilitation.
According to her, the focus of the Women Affairs Ministry is on the enhancement of the welfare of the rural women who, based on happenings in the country, are the most vulnerable.
“Despite being the most vulnerable or at the receiving end of all manners of the unpleasant situation in the country, gains of policies and programmes rolled out by both federal and state governments hardly get to them.
“For instance, how many of the houses built for the rehabilitated people from IDP centres in Borno State will be allocated to women? How many of the poverty alleviating interventions being made by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will be of benefit to women,” she asked.