Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of Lagos State governor, said the state will collaborate with the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) through the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs to ensure poverty alleviation and also strengthen the organisation’s commitment towards empowering wives of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel.
Mrs Sanwo-Olu stated this during the lectures/flag-off ceremony of NAFOWA Logistics Command chapter’s empowerment programme, with the theme “Woman You Can,” urging women to take advantage of the initiative to support their families.
She said: “At a time like this, we need our women to know what they are capable of doing; when you are empowered, you have a voice, without empowerment you take the back seat; with empowerment, you can work beside your husbands, adding value to their lives and adding value to the society at large.”
Mrs Sanwo-olu commended women for their hard work, especially in the recognition that women today are found to be doing jobs that are traditionally male-dominated, urging them not to relent in their effort to continue to support their families and alleviate poverty in their various homes.
Mrs Sanwo-Olu said that government is already looking into the issue of domestic violence within the state, calling on the women generally to say no to domestic violence.
She urged wives of military officers not to fold their hands and watch, but to rise and take their rightful place in building a virile society, especially in line with the theme of the workshop “Women You Can.”
She said the theme was apt at a time that women face a lot of challenges ranging from gender inequality through emotional and physical abuse to the stress associated with facing incredible pressure arising from the need to juggle work and family responsibilities.
The governor’s wife who was represented by the Director, Lagos State government Pension Commission, Mrs Folashade Onanuga, congratulated NAFOWA for taking a frontal role in addressing issues that are crucial to the advancement of the cause of women in the 21st century with the empowerment programme.
Mrs Sanwo-Olu said NAFOWA’s initiative in empowering women was in line with LASG’s drive to affect society positively by empowering women to contribute to the development of the country.
She said women in Lagos State could today be found thriving in some non-traditional vocations such as mechanics, driving of Lag-Bus (Bus Rapid Transport-BRT), Keke NAPEP riding, shoemaking, electronic maintenance and sundry works which were hitherto male-dominated fields. She said women today have resolved not to be shoved aside from such roles and it becomes imperative to empower them with vocational skills that will sustain them, particularly when the society is witnessing a dearth of employment for people who are graduates. She asserted that “when a woman has something to lay hands on, when they understand that with their hands they can do something and make something happen, it not only makes them well, but it gives them peace of mind and a sense of belonging,” adding, “when a woman is empowered, she has a voice” and this reduces financial challenges that lead to depression, suicide and most often marital violence.
NAFOWA National President, Hajia Hafsat Sadique Abubakar, represented by Mrs. Shei Larin, in her address at the event, stated that the association in its drive to equip women with knowledge and vocational skills constantly conducts workshops, seminars and retreats where women who have made tremendous impacts in the society are invited to inspire motivate and spur personnel wives and families to be better persons.
Mrs Abubakar said over the years, NAFOWA had engaged in a variety of humanitarian activities across the country which ranged from visits and donations of food and clothing items to Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps, donation of medical items to hospitals and skills- acquisition programmes across the six geopolitical zones. She stressed that the association had so far trained and provided starter packs to over 2,000 women and youths while charging the women present to make the best of the empowerment programme to enable them to become financially independent as their husbands constantly criss-cross the country to defend the nation.
Three hundred and fifty Nigeria Air Force personnel spouses participated in the training workshop which will end on July 13, 2019.