In a bid to strengthen the partnership with women-focused Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on various initiatives that promote women’s safety and empowerment, the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has organised an interactive forum themed: “Know Your Government”, aimed at informing the public of the laudable activities of the State Government.

Speaking at the programme held recently at the Women Development Centre, Agege, the Commissioner for WAPA, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, emphasised the crucial and central roles women play in promoting the socio-economic growth of the State at the social, economic and political levels.

She said: “The objective of this interactive session is to rub minds on issues concerning the progress and development of NGOs registered with WAPA, who have a common goal of easing the plights of vulnerable women across the State through initiatives which promote economic self-reliance, equal access to the labour market and social security systems, amongst others”.

Dada restated the commitment of the State Government to the empowerment of the female gender, with the understanding that it is the key to eradicating poverty and drastically curbing all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the State.

In her words: “Since the inception of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, he has embarked on different initiatives to ensure financial independence and the welfare of Lagosians through the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda to achieve the vision of a Greater and Smarter Lagos”.

Speaking in the same vein, Permanent Secretary of WAPA, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, explained that Mr. Governor firmly believes in collaborative governance towards bridging the gap between the Government and its people. Therefore, he has pledged his unwavering commitment to promote women’s empowerment through various platforms established by WAPA

Her words: “Mr. Governor remains the number one #HeforShe gender equality champion in Lagos State, which is why he continues to create and support initiatives that promote a safe environment for women, as well as adequately equipping and empowering them for financial independence.

A representative of the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Mr. Segun Ibrahimo, informed the forum of the different packages and benefits that NGOs and individuals can enjoy when they enrol on the “ILERA EKO” health scheme of the State Government.

“This health scheme was designed to benefit all residents in Lagos, regardless of class, social status or political affiliations. Furthermore, there are provisions for NGOs to access Equity Funds to allow a seamless onboarding process for members”, he added.

The Commander of the Special Female Squad, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Lagos State Command, Deputy Superintendent, Ada Agada, in her contribution, charged NGOs to encourage their members to ‘Speak Up’ and ‘Speak Out’ against all forms of domestic and gender-based violence.

“The Special Female Squad of the NSCDC understands the vital roles women play in shaping society, as such, it is time for women to actively support each other and speak out against all forms of bullying, rape, harassment and gender-based violence so that perpetrators can feel the full weight of the Law to serve as a deterrence to intending culprits”, she said.