Recession: Nigerians must unite to salvage the country —Aisha Buhari

The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari declared at the weekend that the economy of the country is experiencing great challenges and pleaded that all hands must be on deck to salvage the nation.

Aisha Buhari, who was speaking in Katsina, Katsina State capital, where she flagged-off a training programme for women in income generating activities, said “we are at a time when the economy of the country is experiencing great challenges. On this note, all hands must be on deck for us to salvage our nation.”

Mrs Buhari said she was happy to flag-off the training programme which is a joint collaboration between Future Assured, her pet project and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

The Flag-off, according to her will signal the commencement of of the training of 200 women in various skills that will empower them to become self reliant, in the state while additional 1,000 women will be trained in the other five geo political zones of the country.

With the economy challenges, the First Lady said women constitute a critical vulnerable group in the society and to this extent, carefully articulated programmes to address the peculiar needs of women must be regularly implemented.

Mrs Buhari, who who expressed confidence in Nigerian women, stated further that despite the challenges, women in Nigeria are consistently taking their place to ensure a better Nigeria.

She said: “This is why we are gathered here today to commence the training of 200 women who have been carefully selected from all the local government areas of Katsina State to benefit from the exercise.

“I am glad that my Future Assured programme was able to find a willing and ready partner in the National Directorate of Employment to execute this training and empowerment programme.”

She explained that environment specific skills have been identified to which the participants will be exposed to in a hands-on training approach.

In line  with her partnership arrangements with the NDE, she stated that  another set of 200 women will commence  training in Lagos, while the partnership is prepared to expand the scope of the collaboration by engaging 200 women each in selected states in the North East, North Central, South East and South South zones of the federation.

The First Lady expressed optimism, that their joint effort will strengthen the hands of Nigerian women towards becoming major players in the economic development of the country.

“I have no doubt in my mind that when economically empowered, women in Nigeria would contribute significantly to the diversification of our national economy. My Future Assured Programme believes strongly in empowering women in income wielding activities which in the long run will bring about inclusive growth in the economy,” she said.

In his speech, the NDE Director General, Mr. Kunle Obayan, said the flag-off marks yet another milestone in the efforts of the NDE in contributing its own quota to the on-going rebuilding process in the country.

Obayan, described mass unemployment as a serious challenge facing the country and Nigerians must find effective initiatives at mitigating the situation.

He said the present effort is a product of the synergy between the NDE and the Future Assured initiative of the wife of the President.

He said: “Your excellency, your passion for the betterment of women in Nigeria at a time such as this is not only commendable but equally connects with the statutory mandate of the NDE. Your presence here today further underscores your commitment to that which you strongly believe in which is to secure the future today through hard work and innovative thinking.

The director general pointed out that the social burden of mass unemployment has made it imperative for any responsible government the world over to think outside the box in order to address the ugly trend.

According to him, the twin problem of unemployment and poverty, constitute unpleasant distractions to any government because “they lead to a multiplicity of anti-social conducts which continue to engender more poverty and social imbalance.”

He stated that the principle of partnership or collaboration in tackling mass unemployment is the paradigm shift that will drive the new quest for employment for all classes of the unemployed in Nigeria.