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Return of Muhammad Musa Bello and the women in FCT

9th Sep, 2019 | By Rebecca Moses | ||

The voice of women as mothers, sisters and wives cannot be underestimated in setting the moral tone of children, family and indeed the nation. One of the gains of the Muhammad Musa Bello-led administration in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been an improvement in the lives of vulnerable residents especially women who have been economically empowered.

Slowly but surely, more women who hitherto had no voice as a result of their very poor economic status are finding their voices and contributing their quota to FCT economy as a result of various interventions made possible by FCT Administration (FCTA). One of such interventions is the loans scheme under the Micro Enterprise Enhancement Loan Scheme (MEES) of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). With the Minister's direct involvement, 300 women and youths across the six Area Councils of the Territory received loan disbursement which saw beneficiaries, mostly women, go home with N10, 000 cash each to start up businesses or improve on existing ones.

The Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello said the loan was in fulfillment of the promise of the present Administration to eradicate poverty from the country. adding that the loan disbursement was in tandem with the agenda of the Administration to take away poverty from the poorest of the poor to make them self-reliant. He stressed that the small-scale loan was for women of FCT in particular, adding that there was room for expansion to include more women. His words: "It is an on-going process and there is room for expansion. This is not the first time such disbursement is given. The main thing is to help the women to be self-reliant. Those who don't have business can start one while those that already have can improve on what they have and move to the next level. We intend to increase the number of women who are self-reliant in Abuja".

With the way the scheme is fashioned, beneficiaries can employ and mentor others, causing a ripple effect that would ensure the complete eradication of poverty in FCT in particular and the country as a whole Also, as part of efforts to bridge the gender divide and empower women to be self-reliant and employable, FCTA under Bello's leadership rehabilitated and upgraded the Ushaffa Pottery Centre to a Centre for Skill Acquisition and Empowerment for women to equip them with entrepreneurship development skills.

Another developmental initiative that is targeted at FCT is a N96.7 million UNESCO Youth Mobile ICT and Mobile Application training project. This is designed to inculcate in women and youths employable skills that will make them competitive in the contemporary job market. Over 1,000 participants drawn from women and youths in the six Area Councils are benefitting from this training programme as we speak. The launch of FCTA's One- Village-One-Product (OVOP) scheme, specifically targeting rural women (who are mainly farmers) in order to improve their place in the agricultural valuechain and expose them to national and international export market is another programme put in place by Bello to ensure that this group of people are empowered and can contribute to nation-building.

The OVOP scheme saw the establishment of pilot enterprise development and empowerment projects such as shear-butter processing centres in Nuku and Rimba communities in Abaji Area Council as well as a cassava processing centre in Chikuku, Kwali Area Council. The Administration is also working to upgrade all institutional frameworks designed to empower and create jobs for women, as well as eliminate all hindrances to their full participation in the economic and political frontiers of the society. Apart from ensuring that women are empowered, Bello has also ensured that their health is well taken care of by putting measures in place to strengthen healthcare delivery in FCT. Under his watch, free ante-natal care, delivery and post-natal care for all pregnant women has been extended to health centres in all the Area Councils.

It will therefore not be far-fetched to say that infant mortality and morbidity as well as death rate of pregnant women has dropped in FCT since he came to office. The Administration has also demonstrated zero tolerance for any form of abuse against women and girls. There is no gainsaying the fact that in Bello's first outing as Minister of the FCT, a lot of interventions targeting women were put in place, some still ongoing. Little wonder then that there were a lot of agitations especially from women for his return as Minister of FCT in the second term of the All Progressive Party (APC) government. Women in the FCT want him to come and continue the good work he started. However, as much as has been done to empower women in FCT, there is a lot still waiting to be tackled to ensure that they are better equipped to contribute their quotatonation - building .

To achieve this, Bello should in this second outing, take the bull by the horns if he is to end all forms of abuse against women and girls. The Minister should ensure full implementation of punishment for offenders. A continually abused woman cannot fight for her right to life, much more contribute to her community. The girl-child education should also be a priority for the Minister, for, as the saying goes, "educate a woman and you educate a nation". Another area the Minister needs to look into is the proper implementation of all his laudable projects aimed at empowering women. Most of these wellintentioned programmes do not achieve their desired objective for lack of proper implementation and monitoring.

Another work for Bello is providing a level playing field for women in politics in FCT. This should start in the appointment of his aides. It would not be out of place to expect to see more women among the Minister's political appointees . President Muhammadu Buhari has set the pace by appointing a woman as Minister of State for FCT, in the person of Hajia (Dr.) Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu. Being a woman herself, the brand-new Minister of State better understands the challenges of w o m e n a n d c a n e n g i n e e r programmes tailor-made to cater for their needs in FCT. With Hajia Ramatu by his side, Bello is betterequipped to do more to empower women in FCT. *Rebecca Moses wrote in from Bwari Area Council.

News Update

The Minister said these after a meeting of the FCT Security Committee which comprises heads of the police, military and para-military formations in FCT as well as Area Council Chairmen and religious leaders.

The cheery news is coming as Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu will headline a distinguished galaxy of stakeholders for the FCT pension stakeholders retreat this week.

Finally last week, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) took over managing and operating the newly- completed Nigeria-Korea Model School in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his Administration will continue to fashion policies designed to ensure employment and security of all citizens, especially the youth.

Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has decried the lynching of three suspected traffic robbers popularly known as 'One chance' in Dutsen Alhaji area of Abuja last week.

Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) always makes public the allocations in line with President Muhammadu Buhari's Change Agenda which harps on transparency, anti-corruption and accountability, tenets which FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has made his beacon.


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