Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday said his administration would continue to give priority attention to programmes and projects that would empower the girl-child and women.
Okowa stated this when he received the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Multi-sectoral Regional Officer, Mr Lamine Sow, and his delegation at Government House, Asaba.
He remarked that the girl-child and women were relevant in every society and thanked UNESCO for considering Delta as one of the states to benefit from its women and girls development programmes.
He said that the state government would ensure that the programme was successful in the state.
According to the governor, Third World countries are always confronted with the challenge of relegating women to the background and I am confident that the move by UNESCO will reverse the ugly trend.
He said that a lot of programmes have been initiated by his administration towards empowerment and economic emancipation of women and the girl-child, coupled with the creation of the Girl Child Development Office in the state.
He advocated for concerted efforts aimed at giving women and the girl-child opportunity to realise their potential in the society, stressing that any investment in the lives of women had the tendency to affect the society positively.
“Let me thank you for considering Delta as one of the three states currently involved in the project implementation and it is important to us because of the huge role women and the girl-child usually play in the family.
“I am glad that out of 36 states in the country we are among the three participating and what makes it more imperative for us is that you actually picked a segment of the society that is more oppressed.
“Although here in Delta, they have not been relegated but to some extent we have not paid attention to them and to that extent, anything that will help to ensure that they are better positioned in the society makes a lot of meaning to us.
“I say this because from all studies done, if you empower women, we are more likely to truly empower families; we are more likely to have very stable families and more likely to have a very responsible society and that, you can’t take away from women because of their God-given talent,” he said.
Okowa regretted that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of the nation has put women in more danger.
“With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, there is more challenge for the girl-child because as the economy gets tougher and the family gets poorer there is the tendency that the women folk will suffer more.
“This is because the impact is massive on the economy of the nation which has its general effect on the people, and because it truly threatens the existence of the family, it is a huge challenge for the women folk
“The nations are still troubled, particularly India, and the Federal Government has already rolled out preventive measures for a possible third wave which has serious consequences on the family, particularly families that live on daily income,” he stated.
Earlier, Mr Sow had said that they were in the state to seek stronger commitment with the governor about the agency’s empowerment of women and girls’ programme in three pilot states including Delta.
He said that the programme which would be funded by Japanese government with technical support from UNESCO, would be established in Bauchi, Gombe and Delta States and lauded Delta government for fulfilling its part of the partnership.
He said the advocacy part of the project would handle sexual and gender-based violence as well as general marginalization of women.