The First Lady of Lagos State, Her Excellency, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has expressed the readiness of Lagos State to collaborate with the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) through the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to strengthen NAFOWA in its efforts at empowering Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Personnel’s Wives with vocational skills that fulfil their aspirations, improve their socio-economic wellbeing and enable them become self-reliant. Dr Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu made this commitment yesterday, 6 July 2019, at NAF Officers’ Mess Gymnasium Ikeja Lagos State, when she spoke as the Special Guest of Honour at the Lecture/Flag-Off Ceremony of NAFOWA Logistics Command (LC) Chapter Empowerment Programme, themed “Woman You Can”, a slogan patterned after America’s former President, Barrack Obama’s mantra that was dedicated to inspiring hope and the determination to excel. The Special Guest of Honour noted that the theme was pertinent, at a time that women face a lot of challenges ranging from gender inequality through emotional and physical abuse to the stress of having to face incredible pressure arising from the need to juggle work and family responsibilities.
The LASG Governor’s Wife, represented by the Director, LASG Pension Commission, Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, congratulated NAFOWA for taking a lead role in addressing issues that are crucial to the advancement of the cause of women in the 21st Century with the empowerment programme, just as she delivered a keynote address on the health of the body and family relationship, and the general wellness of the modern day woman.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu, a Medical Practitioner who has put in 27 years in service to Lagos State, said NAFOWA’s initiative in empowering women was in line with LASG’s drive to affect society positively by empowering women to contribute to the development of the country. She said women in Lagos State could today be found thriving in some non-traditional vocations such as mechanics, drivers of Lag-Bus (Bus Rapid Transport-BRT), Keke NAPEP rider, shoe making, electronics maintenance and sundry otherwise male-dominated fields. She said women today have resolved not to be shoved aside from such roles and it becomes imperative to empower them with vocational skills that will sustain them, particularly when the society is witnessing a dearth of employment for people who are graduates. She asserted that “when a woman has something to lay hands on; when they understand that with their hands they can do something and make something happen, it not only makes them well, but it gives them a peace of mind and a sense of belonging” adding, “when a woman is empowered, she has a voice” and this reduces financial challenges that lead to depression, suicide and most often marital violence.
NAFOWA National President, Hajiya Hafsat Abubakar, represented by Mrs Sheila Lar, in her address at the event stated that the Association, in the drive to equip women with knowledge and vocational skills, regularly conducts workshops, seminars and retreats where women who have made tremendous impacts in Nigerian society are invited to inspire, motivate and spur personnel’s wives and families to be better versions of themselves. Hajiya Abubakar said over the years, NAFOWA has engaged in variety of humanitarian activities across the country which range from visits and donations of food and clothing items to Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camps, donation of medical items to hospitals as well as skills acquisition programmes across the six geo-political zones. She stressed that the Association has so far trained and provided starter packs to over 2,000 women and youth while charging the women present at the event to make the best of the empowerment programme to enable them become financially independent as their husbands constantly migrate across the country to defend the nation.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairperson NAFOWA Lagos State Chapter, Mrs Nofisat Olayinka, said the training programme was initiated in line with NAFOWA’s mission to impart knowledge about various aspects of life to widen the consciousness of personnel’s wives and give them autonomy over their career, education and mental health. She said resource persons of the NAFOWA Vocational Training Centre at Sam Ethnan Air Force Base (SAEB) Ikeja-Lagos were mobilized for the training programme while stating that the beneficiaries will be equipped with the starter kits they need to establish small scale businesses upon completion of the training programme. Catering and pastry making, fashion and textile furnishing design, cosmetology, soap making techniques were some of the vocational skills lined-up for the one-week empowerment programme.
The opening ceremony featured lectures on a variety of topics including “Balancing Career and Family” delivered by Mrs Omolara Adebiyi, MD/CEO ADDAS Mall Ikeja; “Woman how Empowered are you”, delivered by Dr Mrs Veronica Babajide, Lecturer, Department of Science and Technology Education, University of Lagos and “Family Relationship in Marriage”, delivered by Princess Adejumoke Olagbegi-Adelabu, Chief Magistrate Lagos State Judiciary. Other topics covered were “Stress Management”, delivered by Dr Mrs Ifemeje, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynecologist, 661 NAF Hospital Ikeja, and “Benefits of NAFOWA and Airmen Wives Association Membership” moderated by Dr Mrs Jacquelyn Olatunji, NAFOWA National Secretary. Also present at the event were the Air Officer Commanding LC, Air Vice Marshal Abdulganiyu Olabisi, represented by the Chief of Staff LC, Air Commodore Paul Masiyer, as well as Commanders of Units in Lagos and Principal Staff Officers of LC.
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Nigerian Air Force