My very dear women of the great Niger Delta region, today is March 8, the day declared by the United Nations as the International Women’s Day and observed every year to celebrate women’s movement and struggle for equality.
With the theme: “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”, the year 2020 International Women’s Day is very remarkable as it marks the silver jubilee anniversary of the Beijing Declaration on affirmative action for women. Thus, this year’s International Women’s Day is opportune moment for women all over the world to review how well the world has responded to the struggle for gender equality and female emancipation.
As women around the world take stock of progress made in the post-Beijing Declaration era this day, women in the mandate States of the Niger Delta Development Commission of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Abia, Imo and Ondo are enjoined to take the struggle for gender balance and equality more seriously. While women the worldover are today reviewing how far we have travelled on the journey to gender equality and creation of equal opportunities for both genders after the Beijing Women Conference in China, it is disheartening to note that 25 years after our region is still plagued with some traditional practices of discrimination against women and the girl child as well as harmful practices against widows and general suppression of female rights in work places.
The challenges are still before us but they are not overwhelming if we work to change them. I therefore charge women in our region to close ranks as we raise our voices in demanding for equal opportunities to women in careers and workplaces. We must speak with one voice to end all forms of discrimination against women. We should strive in our worship centres, markets, professional associations, schools, offices and town unions that no grounds must exist for discrimination against us on account of our gender. When we take those decisive steps in our region, we are joining the rest of women folk in taking affirmative actions to remove the human barriers of segregation which limit the realisation of the full potentials of womanhood.
This year’s theme should be our watchword. We must boldly declare wherever we are for Generation Equality.
My dear Niger Delta women, the time to take the bull by the horns is now. We must not let this opportunity of engaging our society for a better life for womanhood to pass us by. As a Commission, the NDDC would always create platforms and support initiatives that give Niger Delta women equal opportunities with their male counterparts in education, agriculture, entrepreneurship, skills development, career advancement and economic empowerment because we believe that we cannot truly develop our region by leaving the women behind. Let us therefore work very hard on the spur of the moment to push women and the girl child above all obstacles to ensure that the next time the world would take stock of milestones recorded post-Beijing, the women of the Niger Delta are also in the forefront of global reckoning.
On this occasion of this year’s celebration, we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for demonstrating trust in women through the appointment of several women into positions of authority in his Administration. By these appointments, the President has led the way in ensuring gender equality in national development. We in the NDDC Interim Management Committee commend the vision of Mr. President, particularly as it accords with the theme of this year’s celebration.
I wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day Celebration.
God bless the Great women of the Niger Delta Region
God bless the NDDC
And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Evangelist (Madam) Caroline Nagbo, Member, NDDC Interim Management Committee.