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The Akwa Ibom State Government has concluded plans to partner with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development for the establishment of 31 skills development centers in the state.

Governor Udom Emmanuel disclosed this while receiving the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhasan, at the Exco Chambers, Government House, Uyo.

The Governor, who expressed delight over the partnership, directed the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr Glory Edet, to meet with the Minister next Monday to finalize modalities for the take-off of the project.

“Since you said that you are ready to partner with us on this, that is really fantastic and the commissioner will not let you rest until the project is realized, because this will really help our Women a lot.”

Governor Emmanuel informed the Minister of the various developmental programmes of the state and measures put in place for the sustainability of those programmes, saying that her visit synergised with the vision of the state to set up skill development centres for women and the youths.

“If you want to build a society, first of all build a home, and if you want to build a home, build the woman in a home. The woman will build a home and the home will build a society. That’s a very simple philosophy and that’s what we are looking at and it starts from that girl child.

He revealed that several laws have been propagated in the state to ensure the safety and wellbeing of women and children, saying that “recently, I commissioned a rehabilitation center, to carter for little girls abused anywhere either through rape or any case, I have a judge of the high court there.”

Mr Emmanuel furthered that to boost the efficacy of the center, he sent some medical equipment he had just imported from the US.

“Even though parents don’t come out but the way we are also executing the law right now, I think that any man must be possessed to still go ahead and rape a little child and if you do that, the law will not wait at all and I have warned both the police and those in the court.”

The State Chief Executive also threw his weight behind the Social Investment and Home Grown School Feeding programmes, assuring that all required documentations have been perfected.

“We play collaboration and not opposition that’s why you always see us in the forefront of supporting what the Federal Government does. At the end of the day, it is not the platform you use in service that matters, it is how you serve and God will always ask us to give account of what we did with the opportunity He gave us to serve.”

He posited that, “Platform partisanship is purely out of ignorance that people allow that to becloud the responsibility God had given them. Power is given by God and must be used the way God directs. People see power only when you are in Government. Power starts right from the headship of a home.”

“We also have a philosophy where we also believe that these women can also believe in themselves. We call it the Dakkada philosophy which means you must rise to the faith of greatness.

Governor Emmanuel raised the issue of the poor state of federal prisons in the state which has been threatened by gully erosion and is almost inside the ravine, saying that he has proposed to relocate the prisons.

He said if the Federal Government could actually reimburse 50% of what the state has done in the past, it would go a long way.

“We relocated major prisons, in fact one of the first prisons in the whole country at Ikot Ekpene. Even the police station there too, a major police station needs to be relocated. We don’t want to wait for Federal Government, but reimburse us on what we had done in the past, we can actually relocate them.

The Governor appealed to the Minister to raise the issue of the state of federal prisons in the state when she returns to the executive council “for the Minister of Finance and Minister of Works to at least look at some of these states that have spent so much money on federal projects.”

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhasan, had earlier said that the team was in the state to sensitise and advocate on many things currently being executed by federal government and to ask for collaboration of the state.

He thanked the state for the warm reception, uncommon hospitality they enjoyed from the people of Akwa Ibom State since their arrival on Monday, and pleaded continued collaboration with federal government.

“All that we have come to advocate and sensitise people on or talk about, you are already doing it and even doing more. Is it the implementation of the child right act which had been domesticated here since 2008, if it is that, you have gone far beyond states that even domesticated before you.

“Everything about protecting rights of children in Akwa Ibom State is already on cause. It is one of the things I always tell states when I go, those that have not domesticated, to please domesticate so that our children and their rights can be protected and they will be taken care of. You have already done that and you are implanting fully, thank you.

“Is it about empowering women? The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Glory Edet, has told me of so many programmes and they are the things I normally appeal to State Governors to do for women, you have been doing them. I now see that you are a true champion of Nigerian women especially the Akwa Ibom women.”

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