Some participants at the Women Economic Empowerment, WEE, Dialogue in Plateau State

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Women entrepreneurs in Plateau State have appealed to the State Government for a 50% rebate on land processing fees to enable them to acquire and register lands for economic purposes.

The women and others gathered in Jos to discuss the challenges in trying to own land for both agriculture and small businesses during the Women Economic Empowerment, WEE dialogue, an event organized to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme, “Investing in Women and inspiring inclusion.”

The State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the Gender and Equals Opportunities Commission, GEOC organized the event with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale, GIZ-SEDIN, the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, Women for Women International, Plateau Microfinance Development Agency, PLASMIDA, Women, Peace and Security Network, WPS, Plateau Disability Rights Commission, among others.

The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Caroline Dafur welcomed the women groups including wives of the Transition Committee Chairmen of the 17 Local Government Areas, women in businesses, CSOs/NGOs, women living with disabilities and the Media and urged speedy action for women inclusion.

She said, “Without a deliberate investment in creating opportunities for women and girls’ economic empowerment, they will not find a space to participate in development. Our women are known for engagement in MSMEs. We can’t achieve gender equality without fighting poverty among women and girls. We must bring to the fore, issues that will promote the economic advancement of our women and girls.”

The Secretary to the State Government, Samuel Jatau, Akinropo Omoware of GIZ-SEDIN, Sadiya Yusuf of the NRC, Gyang Dudu, a heforshe, among others, reiterated the need to give women every support to build their capacity, enhance their income and contribute to a virile society; emphasizing on gender equality and women economic empowerment.

At a panel session which had the State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Peter Gai, DG PLASMIDA, Bonkam Wuyep, Chairperson of GEOC, Olivia Dazyam, Mrs Florence Jambol, a Female Traditional Council Member as the panellists spoke extensively on the merits of women inclusion in all spheres of society and advocated partnership between the male and female genders for development and balanced society.

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At the question and answer session, the women highlighted that they have challenges of lack of access to land and finance and asked for a 50% rebate on land processing fees (which Mr Gai promised to look into), low-interest loans to expand their businesses and asked that discriminatory cultural practices which deny women’s right to land inheritance should be abolished.

In her presentation, Hauwa Mankilik of GIZ-SEDIN calls for support for women and recommends that women should “learn skills and educate themselves to compete favourably in society, challenge gender stereotypes and biases, support women participation in leadership positions, advocate for policies and laws that support gender equality and learn to look out and ask questions where women are not represented.”

There was an awareness creation on the existence of enabling laws in the State to own properties and fight SGBV and other vices.

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