I’ll give women pride of place, Buhari promises

• As six win gender-based violence prizes

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerian women that he will continue to give them a pride of place in his administration.

This comes after six persons were declared winners in the short video competition on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) organised for Nigerians by the Delegation of European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

The President spoke while receiving in the audience the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Mrs Winnie Byanyima.

He stated: “Women hold strategic positions in this administration. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is headed by a woman. The Civil Service of the Federation is headed by a woman. And many others like that. We will continue to do our best to empower our women.”

Also speaking on infrastructure renewal, President Buhari noted that the country lost good opportunities, ‘but we can’t continue to cry over spilt milk. We are now doing our best in concert with some developed countries.”

The UNAIDS Executive Director described President Buhari as “a Nigerian and African hero,” stating that exploits by Nigeria in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic and HIV/AIDS are quite commendable.

“I salute your leadership in Nigeria and Africa. It is very robust. I praise you for it,” Mrs Byanyima added.

She implored Nigeria to be represented at the very highest level during the special meeting on HIV/AIDS by the United Nations in June, stressing that the meeting, which holds every five years, is meant to renew the resolve by the world to eliminate AIDS by 2030.

The Executive Director asked that more women be helped to take part in active politics, submitting: “Nigeria has great women. I admire this country. Please open more space for them in active politics.”

Those who emerged as the winner in the EU-SGBV competition are Aimalohi Ojeamiren a student of the University of Abuja took home this year’s winning prize of IMAC editing suite; Doris Okorie who got a MAC laptop for coming second; Anita Abada, who got a DSLR Canon Camera as well as David Nkwa; Obunoluwa Oluwarinu and Ms Twammsen Danaan from Plateau State who placed fourth, fifth and sixth position and got cash prizes.

In his opening remarks at the ceremony, the Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen commended the finalists, saying the European Union was happy to stimulate the awareness and creativity of Nigerians on issues of gender-based violence through its short video competition.

Karlsen said he was pleased that despite the constraints and challenges occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic, the EU received 685 entries, all creatively put together to illustrate the competitors’ understanding of sexual and gender-based violence and ways to eliminate it in society.

He said: “To all six of you that have emerged finalists, I would like to congratulate you. If out of 685 entries you were able to make it to the top six, you are no doubt, already winners.”

While applauding all the participants for their exceptional brilliance, he urged the winners to remember to listen to young Nigerians and victims of gender-based violence.

The objective of the EU SGBV short video competition was to stimulate the awareness of Nigerians on issues of gender-based violence, ensuring that the voices of young people are heard and taken into consideration when shaping and implementing programmes and policies in Nigeria.

Entrants were asked to send in a three-minute video expressing what they understood by sexual and gender-based violence and ways to eliminate it in society.

Judges were drawn from Nollywood; the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs; the EU funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC), the EU office in Nigeria and the Spotlight Initiative.

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I’ll give women pride of place, Buhari promises

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