Nigerian Women on Wednesday came out en masse to welcome the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who visited the Ministry of Women Affairs in Abuja.

Addressing the crowd which included Senators and members of the National Assembly, former Ministers, wives of former governors, women in the Armed Forces, women societies, female political aspirants, Civil Society Organizations, as well as students, Okonjo-Iweala expressed deep concern about the incessant abduction of girls and boys in schools.

The WTO boss who noted that it is shameful that these kinds of things are happening in Nigeria, said she has spoken with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, noting that they are trying to revive the “Safe Schools Initiative”.

She urged the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen to work in synergy with the President and the Finance Minister, to revive the initiative which was designed to ensure all schools in Nigeria are safe from attacks in the future.

 According to her, “I am concerned about the abduction of our girls and boys in schools. I have spoken out on this, it really makes my heart bleed and weep because when these abductions happen to the girls, the first instinct of the parents is to say they won’t send them back to school because nobody wants their child abducted whether boys or girls, but it is almost fatal for the girls.

“Solar lighting, a fence is necessary to keep the schools safe. If you walk into some of the schools even in villages close by where I have been, nothing! There is no barrier, anyone can walk in. So, let us make the schools a little safe.

“Those children are the ones we are going to train for the future, so we must take care of them. I am saying to all the women, whatever you can do to demonstrate to these people that our children are not for play, please do that”, she urged.

In her opening remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen said the WTO DG has made women in Africa proud, adding that female students were invited to see their role model and to aspire to be like her.

She added that God brought Okonjo-Iweala to rescue Nigerian women who have been faced with several challenges in their businesses.

According to the Minister, “Nigerian women were praying during the first outing and even when America was playing funny. Donald Trump tried to steal our joy, but God proved him wrong. We thank the U.S. President, Joe Biden for making your position possible.

“We thank God for your life. You have made us proud in various ways and when you were home, you made your marks.  We just want to celebrate you and tell the world that we love you, and we are praying that more women and our children will follow your footstep”, she said.

Several heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies were in attendance and at the end of the event, gifts from several women groups in different states were presented to the DG and her delegation.


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