By Olasunkanmi Onifade
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, on Thursday said the Federal Government would soon begin the disbursement of soft loans to market women.
Lawal made this known when the President, National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS), Mrs Gloria Shoda, visited him in his office in Abuja.
He said that the government would support the council’s programmes that would add values, morals and aspirations to the country.
According to him, government targets on women and youths includes 500,000 youths in agriculture, school and guaranteed internship scheme.
Lawal advised women to use their position to instill good moral values in young persons, saying that morals began at the homes.
“Women play a prominent role to the government, youths and children as they are better in doing that; they should take the baton and help their various communities.
“The moral values begin from home and for the `Change Begins with Me’ campaign by the President Muhammadu Buhari to work, the women cannot be left out; the government demands a lot from you as mothers of the nation,’’ he said.
The SGF said that collective energies of women as key contributors to nation building were a globally recognised phenomenon.
He said that women in key positions in the country had proven competent, and were doing a good job.
Earlier, Shoda had observed that the government had adopted a gender-friendly approach in key areas of governance.
She, however, appealed to the government that issues concerning women should continue to be at the front burner of the nation’s development agenda, especially in the areas of education, health and economic empowerment.
Shoda called for increase in number of slots for women to attend the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), saying that the training would broaden opportunities for women.
“Nigerian as a growing democracy needs the input of all her citizens in the continuous enhancement of her status on the international stage.
“We believe women should be wholesomely equipped to actively participate in this vision. The process of public service and nation building is one in which women are very keen to participate in, as equal partners,’’ she said.
She appealed to government to appoint women in board of government parastatals and agencies, saying that women would be able to contribute to the country’s growth and sustainable development.
She said the launch of the “Change Begins with Me’’ campaign by the president would change hearts, homes and communities.
“It is part of our duties as teachers, counsellors and mentors of the society to educate on behaviour and how we should all conduct ourselves within the larger society.
“We assure you of our willingness to work in tandem with you, to promote the values towards achieving the goals of the noble orientation campaign,’’ Shoda said