Over 8,000 Rural Women across Local Government Areas in Lagos State today benefitted from the Federal Government Special Grants of N20,000 for rural women in the State.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony held at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, stated that the objectives of the initiative are in line with the present administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda and reflect the commitment of the government to the Sustainable Development Goals.
He described the event as a further testament of government’s determination to change the socio-economic development narrative of Lagos State to a different level, where rural women become the centrepiece of a strategy in poverty reduction through women empowerment.
According to the Governor, “We have continued to demonstrate this commitment through the numerous gender-based intervention programmes being implemented by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. I am happy to say that these programmes are making the desired impact as many beneficiaries are becoming economically independent and contributing meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the State”.
While emphasising that the administration is not oblivious of its responsibility to the citizenry, Sanwo-Olu stressed that the government will continue to initiate specifically designed empowerment programmes that will cushion the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural women and their small-scale businesses in the State.
He stressed that the initiative would ultimately go a long way in boosting their businesses and assisting them to overcome the post-COVID-19 socio-economic challenges, appealing to beneficiaries of the grant not to see it as their own share of the so-called National Cake but to deploy the fund as a seed to boost their trade and businesses for greater income.
“The grant should be judiciously utilised for good returns on investment, as this is the main vision behind the initiative”, the Governor asserted.
Earlier in her address, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mallam Bashir Nura Akali, disclosed that the Special Grant for Rural Women programme was introduced in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, in line with the Federal Government’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
The Minister added that the scheme was designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural and peri-urban areas of the country with a cash grant of N20,000 disbursed to about 125,000 poor women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said, “Our target in Lagos State is to disburse the grant to over 8,000 beneficiaries across the all Local Government Councils. The grant is expected to increase income and productive assets of target beneficiaries. It is our hope that the beneficiaries of this programme will make good use of the grant to generally contribute towards improving their living standard”.
In her welcome address, the Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, stated that the Special Grant project is targeted at addressing the scourge of poverty amongst the poor and vulnerable women dwelling in rural areas in the country.
She said the gesture goes to highlight the spirited effort of the present administration to underscore its responsiveness to matters that affect its citizens.