By Mary Agidi

Ondo state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has appealed to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to release the second tranche of the Women Fund for Economic Empowerment, (WOFEE) loan to the state.

He made the call at the 19th National Women Council Meeting held at the International Event centre, the Dome, in Akure the state capital.

The governor was represented by his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi,. He said the state government has paid its counterpart contribution of N6million to complement the federal government’s contribution to the Bank of Industry in 2005 for helping poor women farmers.

“The first tranche of the loan was distributed to 38 women cooperatives in 2005/2006. A total of N9,275,000 was released to the cooperative societies due to be repaid within 24 months.

“As at 1st August, 2019, a sum of N10,233,288.86 consisting of recovered loan, undisbursed fund and the two per cent interest on the fund in the custody of Bank of Agriculture was due for second disbursement.

“Despite 80% recovery in respect of the first tranche, the Bank of Agriculture is yet to disburse the second tranche. There is seemingly a stalemate”. He noted.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Equality and social inclusion: A panacea for peace, security and sustainable development in Nigeria”, the governor stressed the need to make a concerted effort to ensure gender mainstreaming in our social development agenda.

Akeredolu described social inclusion as a way of finding a stable society where no one is discriminated against, saying this guarantees peace, security and sustainable development.

He therefore called on women to rise up and play their necessary roles in every facet of the national development.

He enjoined the council to consider the overall objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth plan for social development in the formulation of national social policies for Nigeria.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Dame Pauline Tallen commended the South West governors, and rated them high as far as women inclusion in governance is concerned.

She noted that social justice is a catalyst for peace and harmony.

She condemned the prevailing dastardly acts against women and children across the nation, including the rehabilitation centre under the guise of religion houses in Kaduna and baby factories across the country.

Mrs Tallen appealed to state governors to domesticate the Child Right Act in order to ensure that perpetrators of violence against children are punished.

She further urged governors to partner the ministry at ensuring that children in the grassroots are enrolled in school, while stressing the need for women to be educated.

Earlier, in her welcome address, the wife of the state governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu described the annual event as an avenue for participants to interact, network and get acquainted with the culture of the host State in a bid to forging national integration.

Highlights of the event include presentation of awards to some governors who allow women inclusion in their administration. They are the governors of Ondo State, Kwara, Sokoto, Lagos, Kaduna and Akwa-Ibom.

Source: The Hope Newspaper