Why United Nations found Akwa Ibom First lady merited for Award
Akwa Ibom First Lady has been awarded a ‘Champion of Sustainable Development Goals’, for using her non-governmental platform to advance the cause of women and children in the state.
Dr (Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel is the brain behind Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Path-Initiative (FEYReP) which she created in 2015, in a bid to better the lives of women.
For her efforts, the United Nations Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres conferred the award on Mrs Emmanuel at Government House, Uyo.
The UN boss was represented by the Nigerian Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, who led a high-powered delegation of the organisation on a courtesy visit to Akwa Ibom.
Mr Guterres said he was on a mission to appraise and reinforce the existing partnership with the state government and FEYReP having heard and read of the many life-changing initiatives of the governor’s wife through her organisation.
“It is a pleasure to be here to meet you in person and appraise things for myself,” he said. “I must commend you for the enormous work you are doing in using your position and platform to pioneer and champion the cause of women in the state and the country at large.”
He noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, women were abused in many forms all over the world, saying he was happy to know that the state has since domesticated the Violence Against People Prohition (VAPP) law to arrest culprits.
While thanking the First Lady for her role and support towards the domestication of the legislation, he promised to partner more with her platform to break more grounds.
Responding, Mrs Emmanuel appreciated the UN chief for his kind words and the honour done her saying her efforts have been that of providing women, the girl child and children equal opportunities.
“We have been very vocal against rape and violence against women in this state and this has resulted in many speaking up and seeking justice.
“We have worked closely with sister groups like International Federation of Women Lawyers, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), and the Nigeria Medical Women Association (NMWA) to push out our messages and this has elicited positive reactions from the public,” Dr Emmanuel said.
She said the state government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare was constructing a permanent building for all victims of gender-based violence, saying the temporal facility currently occupied has been stretched due to the influx of people seeking help at the centre.
On women empowerment, the First lady informed the visitors that her desire is to see women being self-reliant, saying this informed her decision to set up a Multi-Cooperative Society where revolving loans are given to rural women for small scale businesses.
The governor’s wife called for more partnership in the area of capacity building and funding to do more in the state, saying funding has been a major factor militating against her work.
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