President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has harped on the need for women empowerment, as well as involvement more women in the social-economic development of the country, saying this will lead to the achievement of maximum progress and development.
Jonathan made the call while receiving an award at the Women Empowerment Leaders Award, a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Lady Mechanic Initiative (LMI) held on Thursday in Lagos.
The President, who spoke through the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, regretted that women and girls have been disillusioned and unable to develop their full potentials due to stereotype in the past.
Commending the initiator of the lady mechanic initiative Lady Sandra Aguebor Epkeruoh, for creating an entry point for women into a male dominated business, adding that shows that women have overcome role stereotype.
“Let me commend the indefatigable Lady Sandra Aguebor Ekperuoh, NPOM for creating an entry point for women to one of the most lucrative enterprises which hitherto was dominated by men. I salute her courage and resilience considering what she must have gone through within the last ten years in a male dominated profession.
“It is an indication that women are gradually overcoming role stereotypes where in the past they were expected to aspire to professions like teaching, nursing etc.”
According to him, the lady mechanic initiative has not only provided an intensive training programme for women but, life skill coaching and income generation skills as well.
“Lady mechanic initiative has not only provide an intensive training programme for women that is practical but also life skill coaching and income generation skills that motivate young women to either start their own mobile garages, provide home services or find employment in the auto industry. Many of their graduates are working with world class companies such as Toyota Nigeria, Cummins Nigeria, Coscharis Motors, RT Briscoe, TATA Motors, MTN, Coca Cola, etc,” he said.
To this end Maina appraised Jonathan’s efforts at women empowerment with initiatives including YouWin, Public Works and Women/Youth Empowerment Scheme (PW/WYE), SURE-P, adding that 60 skill acquisition centres for women is under construction across the country.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Founder and Initiator Lady Mechanic Academy, Sandra Aguebor, said the LMI was created to help young women escape the clutches of despair and poverty.
She noted that more than 2,000 young women apply to the programme yearly, regretting however that there is space for only 150 trainees per annum.
Saghir el Mohammed
Ministry of Women Affairs, Abuja
December 4, 2014