President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday urged Nigerian women to engage the youths in the aftermath of the EndSARS protests on the need for dialogue, to avoids a repeat of such protests.
This is even as he describe the women as stabilizers of peace in all parts of the country.
Buhari said when he hosted the representatives of women at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that “your visit here today comes in the wake of growing youth restiveness which engulfed parts of the country in the last few weeks. As mothers of Nigeria, you play a critical role in bringing about lasting peace. We very much regret the loss of lives during the protests and damages to businesses including medium and small-scale enterprises.
“I urge you to engage with our children and youth on the need for dialogue that will yield better understanding going forward. Our youth remain our most treasured asset and it is our collective responsibility to present to them a pathway to realising their huge potential.
“I wish to recognise the value Nigerian women bring to our society especially when they are supported and given a voice. This administration is a beneficiary of the strong support of Nigerian women and I truly thank you all for the display of resilience throughout our journey.”
President Buhari informed the women that his administration remains fully committed to ending the budding rise of violence against women in Nigeria and the rest of the world.
“At the global level, we will show our firm commitment to bring an end to the extent of exponential rise of violence against women and girls by supporting the Chairman of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa in his call for a treaty to end violence against women and girls at the African Union Summit in February next year,” he said.
President Buhari said although the country has not achieved the 35 percent affirmation on the participation of women in governance, his administration intends to exceed the benchmark.
“We have not reached the 35 percent benchmark for women’s participation in governance as recommended in the National Gender Policy, but the current female appointees represent the first step in a strategic intervention for the inclusion of women in the affairs of this administration.
“I truly understand that when equity becomes the guiding principle and women hold strategic leadership positions, not only will our development be accelerated but also the diversity in richness in the quality of our policy design engagement and execution will be improved. I want to assure you that this administration remains resolute to not only meet the 35 percent National Gender Policy but to exceed it across key decision-making role in government,” he affirmed.
President Buhari also reaffirmed his commitment to end child marriage as well as boost girl child education in all parts of the country.
Earlier, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Talen, who led the delegation, thanked President Buhari for always supporting Nigerian women, especially in the fight against rape and gender violence.
“This support that you have given by lending your voice and declaring Nigeria’s zero-based tolerance against rape and gender violence has clearly placed Nigeria on the global map to harvesting best practices around such issues as was spotlighted at the UN General Assembly in September 2020,” she said.
The Minister also appealed to the President on behalf of all Nigerian mothers, to ensure that the issues responsible for the ongoing strike by university lecturers are resolved amicably, to enable universities reopen and students go back to school.
President Buhari was later presented with an award tagged “He4She award of excellence” by the National Council for Women Affairs as special champion for Nigerian women, children and the vulnerable as well as his overwhelming commitment toward moving women into the mainstream of governance.