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The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, on Tuesday, empowered about 600 women in Orile Agege, Iba and Oto-Awori Local Council Development Areas of the State as part of efforts to eradicate poverty and improve residents' standard of living. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Short-Term Skills Acquisition programme held at Orile-Agege LCDA, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, restated the commitment of the State Government towards creating a favourable environment for women to thrive in Lagos State. She said the programme is one of the various intervention platforms aimed at empowering women to become financially independent as well as employers of labour, stressing that women empowerment is a key priority of the State government. Mrs. Dada said, “It behoves on us as responsible and passionate policymakers to make provision for women. The skills acquisition programme is an avenue to train and empower women within a short period of time in more than 20 vocations to help them become financially independent”.

“One of the challenges teenage girls face is interrupted or even aborted education; they often drop out of school when they get pregnant and end up in their husbands’ house with no source of income. While these girls grow up to be uneducated, others are educated but not gainfully employed. All these challenges can only be resolved through targeted projects, programmes and skills acquisition”, the Commissioner added. Emphasising that veritable platforms have been provided for women to acquire skills in Lagos, Mrs. Dada added that several vocations can be learned by women and the indigent on a tuition-free basis. Her words: “Our focus is to ensure financial independence for our women, hence, the need to distribute startup packs to enable our graduates kick start their businesses. In addition, the government has created an Employment Trust Fund, through the Ministry, for the youth to get funds towards enhancing their entrepreneurial activities”. Also speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, urged the graduates to spread the news to people around them to take advantage of the many programmes put in place by Sanwo-Olu’s administration to gain financial freedom. “There are 18 functional Skills Acquisition Centres across the five divisions of the State set aside for women to be trained on long-term and short-term periods depending on their preference. Short-term graduates are empowered after completing their training which is on a tuition-free basis. It is important that residents, especially women, take advantage of the opportunity and be financially free”, she said. The Executive Chairman of Orile Agege LCDA, Mr. Sunday Johnson represented by his Vice, Oluwatoyin Akanni-Pedro, thanked the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for bringing such helpful training to the women in the locality, stating that the intervention would go a long way in encouraging the graduates to learn a skill and become business owners instead of looking for nonexistent white-collar jobs. Similarly, the Chairmen of Iba and Oto-Awori LCDAs, Mrs. Adedayo Oseni and Prince Musibau Ashafa, respectively, urged the participants to avail themselves the opportunities to contribute to the economic upliftment of the State. One of the beneficiaries, Ololade Lawal, expressed gratitude to the State government for the initiative and opportunity to acquire a skill and contribute to the development of Lagos State. The participants were given startup kits in their various vocations in order to commence their businesses immediately. Graduands


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