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*Promises greater participation of women in governance
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Tuesday celebrated the International Women’s Day by holding a no-holds bar interactive session with female students of Model Secondary School, Maitama-Abuja and assured them that the 8th Senate would work to ensure that more women aspire to and occupy leadership positions in the country.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja , while fielding questions from the students – ranging from issues of abduction of girls, insecurity, kidnapping, access to education and female participation in politics among others said that the government would continue to be proactive in preventing the abduction of Nigerians especially young girls, stop violence against women and ensure that the girl-child has equal access to education just like their male counterparts.

He also said that efforts would be made to promote the equality of gender in entrepreneurship especially in science and technology fields and also put measures in place to effectively discourage child marriage in the country.

Saraki said: “Let me assure you that in the chambers today, we have identified six issues concerning women that we believe are very important. One is to stop the level of abduction and kidnapping that is going on against our girls.

“Two, is the violence against girls and women. We are going to look at the law and if it is too lax we are going to bring in stiffer penalties to stop violence against women and to protect the girl child.

“Three, is to ensure that girls have the same access to education like boys. We also talk about the issue of entrepreneurship, whether it is business or technology. We have to look at our laws and see anywhere we can by law make it possible to have gender equality in doing this.

“Another issue is child marriage. We must work to ensure that we put an end to some of these practices. We also talk about participation in governance for women so that more women can aspire to be leaders in this country.

“We have to agree as members of parliament. We have to lobby to have affirmative action that will encourage gender balancing. This, we will do majorly through the efforts of our female Senators in collaboration with all members of the parliament to ensure that we focus on how to solve the challenges,” he said.

In their separate remarks, Senators Monsurat Sunmonu, Rose Okoh and Fatimat Raji Rasaki admonished women to be resolute in their pursuits adding that with determination, they can achieve all their desires in life.

Earlier, the leader of the team, Princess Ugonma Akanu, said the visit was meant to seek answers to “some burning issues” concerning the girl child and women in the Nigerian context as part of activities to mark the International Women’s Day.

Mrs Akanu specifically urged the Federal Government to ensure more educational access for girls and also consider deploying armed security men to safeguard schools across the country in view of the adverse activities of insurgents and kidnappers who have made schools the target of their nefarious activities.
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