Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy, has assured Women Affinity Groups (WAGs) under the Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP) that her ministry will give them more support to empower their members.
The Minister stated this while interacting with some WAG members at Abuchi Koro and Izom communities in Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State on Thursday.
She said her ministry has a lot of programmes lined up to empower the women to be self-reliant and support their families.
The Minister, who was accompanied by the National Coordinator of NFWP, Mrs. Ruth Mishelia, expressed happiness with the way the women came together to form a group to support themselves.
"I am happy to see you coming together to help yourselves in this manner. Let me say that I am really impressed with what you are doing.
"You know, we just came on board, but I am assuring you that the ministry has a lot of programmes that we will use to support you," said the minister.
While addressing members of the groups as well, the Deputy Governor of the state, who is also the Chairman of the Project Steering Committee, Comrade Yakubu Garba, urged the groups to utilise the opportunity and help themselves and their families.
He noted that women were better managers of resources than men in a family setting, urging the men to support their women to succeed, which, according to him, will benefit the entire family.
He expressed appreciation to the honourable minister and her entourage for finding time to come and interact with the women's groups just a few days after her assumption of office.
Earlier in his welcome address, the state coordinator of the project, Mohammed Sarki Bello, informed the minister and her entourage that WAG is a group of women with income-generating activities, adding that to be a member, a woman is expected to have an income-generating activity and be 18 years of age or older.
He disclosed that the target of the project in Niger State was about 54,000 beneficiaries but that they ended up capturing about 75,000 women, saying Gurara Local Government has over 23,000.
Sarki Bello added that each of the beneficiaries in the first phase of the project was given a N60,000 cash grant, while those in the second phase got N30,000 due to the scaling up of the number of beneficiaries.
He also explained that members of each WAG hold weekly meetings and make savings, from which members of the group are given soft loans to support their businesses.
The Council Chairman of Gurara Local Government, Hon. Abdualim Abubakar Bonu, appreciated the Minister and her entourage, as well as the Deputy Governor, for taking their time to be with them, saying the people of Gurara Local Government will continue to support federal and state government programmes and policies.
There was a practical demonstration of how the women hold their weekly meetings and also a display of some products of the businesses the groups engage in.
The minister also made a cash donation to the groups to support their businesses.
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in the Minna High Court Complex on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by Mohammed Nazeer of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) against the election of Shehu Saleh of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Angela Otaluka of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal dismissed the petition, describing it as lacking substance and merit.
Mohammed Nazeer of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) approached the Tribunal challenging the election of Shehu Saleh, who was declared the winner of the February 25 National Assembly Election. He claimed that the election was manipulated in favour of the respondent and he should be declared the rightful winner of the election.
He alleged that the election was also marred with irregularities and non-compliance with the electoral act, arguing further that the respondent did not score the rightful vote cast at the polls.
Nazeer, in his petition, prayed the Tribunal to upturn the election of Shehu Saleh and return him as the rightful winner as he scored the majority and rightful votes cast at various polling units across the Magana/Rijau Federal Constituency.
Justice Angela Otaluka, while reviewing the petition during the judgement, asserted that all the issues raised and the evidence tendered before the Tribunal are immaterial, inconsequential, and lack merit.
She averred that the petitioner failed woefully to prove the allegations of overvoting and manipulation of voting as well as non-compliance with the electoral act, among others, claimed in his petition, and the petition was accordingly dismissed as lacking merit.
Justice Otaluka, while dismissing the petition, awarded a cost of N300,000 to be paid to the respondent.
Also, a petition filed by Saidu Isah of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) of Agaie Federal Constituency challenging the election of Mahmud Abdullahi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), suffered another setback as the petition was dismissed by the Justice Angela Otaluka-led Tribunal.
Saidu Isah had approached the Tribunal to declare him the rightful winner of the February 25 National Assembly Election to represent Agaie/ Lapai Federal Constituency, claiming that he scored the majority of votes cast at most of the polling units in Agaie and Lapai.
According to the petitioner, the election was marred by unprecedented crises and irregularities at most of the polling units across the two federal constituencies of Agaie and Lapai, claiming that his polling and ward agents were chased away from the polling units.
Saidu Isah prayed the Tribunal to return and declare him the winner of the February 25 National Assembly Election unconditionally and upturn the election of the respondent as he did not win the majority of votes cast at the February 25 National Assembly Election to represent Agaie/ Lapai Federal Constituency.
In her four-hour judgement, Justice Angela Otaluka stated that the petitioner failed in totality to substantiate his claims as contained in his petition, and he also failed to prove the allegations of non-compliance, and she dismissed the petition with a cost of N300,000 to the respondent accordingly.