The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Kaduna Zone, has announced plans that no fewer than 500 women in Nigeria will, within the next year, benefit from its empowerment scheme.
This was made known by the chairperson, women in PENGASSAN, Kaduna Zone, Comrade Hasiya Audu, during a skill acquisition and women empowerment program of over over 24 women in Karimo, Abuja, themed: “build a woman, build the world”, organized by PENGASSAN in collaboration with Pad Up Africa, Pad Comfort, and SHIELD girls2women initiative.
Audu stated that the empowerment of over 24 women was a gesture geared at creating an awareness in a bid to groom women at all levels to be major players both in the homes and the socio-political space.
In her words “This programme is very dear to our hearts as women in PENGASSAN. Like I told the leaders of Karimo Sabo, infact, when we met the district heads today he said he wanted to see the women that are coming because you know the way Nigeria is now that people will say they want to come and empower someone, and maybe something else they wanted to take upon.
“It really touched me because some people will be like is it not canopy you want to come and set and talk, but he asked questions that will fit just knowing where we are coming from, and what we are about, and we let them know that this programme is to satisfy the women; groom women; and to open your eyes to make you know that you can also support your husband. We understand that the husband is our backbone, yes, but if the backbone carries too much load, it will break. So, you need to support your husband.
“We know you’re already being supportive, your cooking, you are taking care of the children but there is so much more that you can be even more than than that and your husband will equally appreciate. So, that is why we are here. We’re here to sensitize you women so that you will come out.
We are passionate as women in Pangasinan. We’re passionate about the girl child and women empowerment. So, we chose no better occasion than the International Women month to empower women, because we realize and we chose Karimo Sabo because it’s a localized community, where you have a lot of women who are idle, so we want to empower them, we want to expose them and let them know that they can be anything they want to be because most of them are majorly housewives while that is really good, you know, we need to expose them and let them know that they can be much more than than they already are.
“We’re empowering them with skills that no one can take away such as sewing skills, soap making skills, you know, and we intend to expand from there. So we want the essence of all of this is to make them grounded economically, because with this COVID shock that has driven a lot of economies into poverty, Nigeria inclusive, we need to empower our women we need all hands on deck, both men and women, the women can no longer stay backward.
“We are starting with a minimum of 24 women and we intend to expand from there. We are looking at nothing less than 500 Women in a space of six months to one year because this is a three month programme the sewing takes three months. So after the soap making takes just one week so that can be we can keep recycling that for the soap making and then the sewing of course because for you to be grounded in sewing it has to take some time.”
MEANWHILE, the National chairperson, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria Women Commission, TUCNW, Comrade Hafshat Shuaibu, expressed joy over the initiative of empowering women in different communities in Nigeria.
She said, “It means so much to me because the general belief people have about the trade unions is that we don’t reach out to the communities, and that it is just about us and our members. But, honestly, I feel elated. I have so much joy in my heart. This is actually not the first time we are reaching out as a trade union. Of course, TUC is the center and we have over 30 unions affiliated to the center and all the unions actually reach out to the community.
“I told them at the event proper that whatever is taught today, whatever thing they have been empowered with, they should take it seriously. They should make sure they empower other people and also send their children to school, not just the girls. The boys also matter because if we don’t have men, just like if you don’t have women, the world is not going to complete. They should train their kids and take proper care of themselves.
“We are actually here to teach them how to make clothes, sanitary pads and then soapmaking. A lot of us have learned some of the skills and so a lot of us live in Abuja. So what we intend to do is actually return to this community after three months to see how far they have gone to see how far they are doing. If there is a need for retraining and empowering we do. If they are okay and we feel it’s good. Then we empower another set of people.”
Stating her stand, the Director General, DG, of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ACCI, Mrs. Victoria Akai, represented by the General Counsel of the ACCI, Haisha Abdullahi, adduced that the agency is driven to set the ball rolling on women empowerment with enabling policies.
“Women representation and empowerment has been identified as highly important and essential for the achievement of Sustainable recognition. The recognition led to the tagline reading the bias for the 2021 woman international day women celebration.
“Women Empowerment at the ACCI has been one of the pillars of our policy drives, which have resulted in so many achievements such as the “araha” market, which is a hybrid market that supports women, especially farmers to sell their product.
“We also focus on training women in business; enhancing their packaging; introducing them to best practices that they can adopt for businesses; linking them to off-takers in order to benefit from ACFTA agreement.
“We have also embarked on training women on export produce and requirements to serve as guarantors for applicants for government loans, of which most beneficiaries are women, and we encourage more women to benefit amongst other initiatives”, she stated.
On his part, the village head of Karmo Sabo, Mallam Umar Sarki, expressed joy, while commending all the actors that drove into the community to get their women skilled and empowered with requisite knowledge on soap making, tailoring, pad making amongst others.
He further promised to ensure that the knowledge obtained by the selected few would be passed down to other women in the community, alluding that the government should consolidate efforts with an agency such as PENGASSAN to empower as many women as possible.
Mallam Umar said: “Greatly I believe this occasion will help them in Karmo because women are lacking in terms of entrepreneurship as such this occasion will give them an open eye for them to move in terms of entrepreneurship.
“I have that confidence that it will grow higher because the women are out there and they are ready to achieve something from that. The first thing that led me to accept them is you know they said in their house where there’s no women, the house will perish and when you have educate a woman, you have educated the nation, that is why I gave them that chance to empower women and to build the nation to a greater height.”
Expressing joy over the gesture of PENGASSAN and others, one of the beneficiaries of this empowerment program, Mercy Maikasuwa, 24, stated that the development came at the right time and that she would make judicious use of the opportunity.
She said: “I want to appreciate the almighty God for this privilege that he has given unto me and to others as well. I want to also thank God once again, because this is not an easy one. It is a privilege for me to be among the living and also to be among this empowerment.
“And, I believe that through this empowerment, I’ll be able to be self employed not only waiting for the government alone. As I learn through this empowerment, I know I also would help my family and also use it to further my education as well.”