Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, has declared that the State will continue to empower women and youths in the informal sector to become self-dependent in order to contribute greatly towards the economic growth of the country.

The Commissioner, who made the assertion at a one-day workshop organised by the Women Development Centre, Agege, said that the theme of the workshop, “Feminisation of Skills Acquisition and Human Capability Development among Unemployed Women and Youth in Lagos in COVID-19 Era” is apt, considering the role of women and youths as home and nation builders.

Dada, represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, disclosed that the male gender is dominating careers and professions both in the formal and informal sectors with few women trying to find their voices.

The Commissioner, however, opined that there is now a paradigm shift in the trend as more women are proficient and distinctive in the formal sector as well as the political sphere. She lauded the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration for demonstrating a strong resolve to harness the potentials of women and youths.

“It is the conviction of Mr. Governor that women and youth are essential through their massive roles as home and nation builders”, she noted.

Dada further disclosed that WAPA has graduated over 10,000 trainees from the government-owned skills acquisition centres in the last two years. This, she said, has provided empowerment for many women and youths free of charge.

She, therefore, urged the general public to report anyone demanding payment to access any of the training programmes.

While stressing that WAPA has 20 vocations, which are targeted at supporting indigent women and youths towards the path of self-reliance and financial independence, Mrs. Dada said some of the trainees have become employers of labour. 

The Commissioner further disclosed that the government had rendered livelihood support of N20,000 each to over 1,450 women in Y2020, while another 1,500 women benefited from the same gesture during this year’s International Widows’ Day. 

On COVID-19, Dada enjoined Lagosians to remain vigilant, stressing that they must continue to adhere strictly to all guidelines and protocols put in place to curb the spread of the virus.  

“On our part as a government, we will continue to create more opportunities to enhance the socio-economic advancement of Lagosians, particularly women and the youths”, she said. 

The Commissioner encouraged individuals, the private sector and non-governmental organisations to contribute their quota to the noble cause geared towards women and youth emancipation as well as the sustained prosperity in the State.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Director, Women Development Centre, Agege, Mrs. ‘Deola Adepoju, restated government’s conviction that the future of the State and, indeed, the entire country lies in the hands of women and youths. Hence, they must continually be empowered, especially towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs).