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AN ADDRESS ON THE OCCASION OF THE MINISTERIAL ACCOUNTABILITY PRESS BRIEFING IN BENUE STATE ON 21ST FEBRUARY, 2017 AT THE NUJ HOUSE, MAKURDI ON THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FROM JUNE, 2015 TO DECEMBER, 2016. PRESENTED BY: THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, MWASD; MR. ABRAHAM MUSA The State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development was created in 1997, following the resolutions from the Beijing platform for action to upgrade the commission for Women Affairs to a full-fledged ministry. The core mandate of the Ministry is the empowerment and development of women, protection and welfare of children, family, elderly, persons with disabilities and vulnerable in the society. And the advancement of human rights as well as gender equity. OBJECTIVES The broad objective of the Ministry is to build a gender equitable society where the needs of women, boys and girls (children) and men are generally, adequately and equitably catered for. VISION To ensure a fair and just society where women, children, aged, physically/mentally challenged as well as citizens are adequately and equally treated. MISSION To build a well-integrated society with equal opportunities for all where every form of discriminatory practices and inaccessibility based on gender and disabilities are eradicated. The Ministry is made up of six (6) departments and a rehabilitation board at Apir near Makurdi Township. These include core departments of; Women Affairs, Social Welfare, Child Development and operational departments of; Administration and Supply, Planning, Research and Statistics and Finance and Account. All of which are headed by Directors and an Executive Secretary for the Rehabilitation Board respectively. Interestingly, the Ministry has since June, 2015 to December, 2016 under the pragmatic leadership of the Executive Governor of Benue State; Dr. Samuel I. Ortom recorded several achievements which cut across departments in the ministry.     TRAININGS/MEETINGS SPONSORED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT/IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS (IPs)
1 Education of Emergency Technical Working Group Committee Ministry of Education State Secretariat, Makurdi, August, 2015 Ministry of Education (MOE) In collaboration with the MWASD
2 Reconstituted the fostering and adoption committee MWASD, August, 2015 MWASD Committee comprises police, lawyers, children’s parliament, CPN, Permanent Secretary and four directors
3 Women and Girl Child Summit Women Development Center, Abuja, October, 2015 FMWASD Representative: Hon. Commissioner, Director Child and Director PRS, sponsored by the  Executive Governor
4 Advocacy visit on State Child Right Implementation Committee (SCRIC) Bureau of Local Governments Chieftaincy Affairs, Makurdi, 2015 SMILE/MWASD In collaboration with the State Government
5 Better parental skills training Double K Hotel, Otukpo, 2015 SMILE/MWASD In collaboration wth the State Government
6 Lagos State Family Court training Dover Hotel, Lekki, Lagos, April 2016 UNICEF/NI1 Abuja Representative: Hon. Commissioner and Director Child sponsored by the Governor
7 Child Protection Officer attended a workshop on Emergency Preparedness Response and Contingency Planning Newton Hotel Owerri, Imo State, August 2016 UNICEF Representative: Child Protection Officer Sponsored by the Governor
8 National Launch of the Year of Action to End Violence Against Children Sheraton Hotel Abuja, September, 2015 FMWASD/UNICEF Representative: Director Child sponsored by the Governor
9 Launch of End of Girl Child Marriage Sheraton Hotel Abuja, November 2016 FMWA/UNICEF Representative: Director Child sponsored by the Governor
10 National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development Kaduna FMWASD Representative; Hon. Commissioner, Director Women Affairs and Director Child Development sponsored by the Executive Governor
11 Participation in the State Technical Committee for the development of Benue State Development Plan (BSDP) 2016-2025 BSPC, 2015-2016 Benue State Government Final copy produced for the state
12 Emergency Preparedness Response Training Enugu, August 2016 UNICEF Representative: Child Protection Officer sponsored by the Governor
13 Hosting of the Child Protection Systems Modeling meeting Smile View hotel Makurdi, September 2016 MWASD/UNICEF In collaboration with the State Government
14 Family court assessors training National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja, September, 2016 UNICEF/NJI Representative: Director, Child sponsored by the Governor
15 Training on community young child feeding Double K hotel, Otukpo, 2016 SPRING PROJECT/MWASD In collaboration with the State Government
16 Participation at OVC Budget Dialogue and costing of OVC sustainability plan Abuja, October, 2016 4 children (USAID) Final copy forwarded to the DCD for action
17 Participation at UNDAF/DAO Midyear review meeting Halidays Hotel, Makurdi, 2016 UNDAF (UN Agencies) Planned programmes for MWASD were not carried out
18 Participation at Road map to implementation of Benue State Development Plan meeting Doo Palace Hotel, Makurdi, Nov. 2016 Special Adviser to the Governor on Development cooperation, MDGs and NEPAD Result Based Budgeting in line with BSDP  
19 Hosted a meeting with stakeholders on implementing programmes, policies and legislation on gender equality in Benue State Benue State Planning Commission Hall, State Secretariat, December, 2016 MWASD Supported by Women Environmental Programme (WEP)
20 SMEDAN trained staff of the ministry who had less than 10 years’ service Pauline Maka Hall SMEDAN In collaboration with the Ministry
21 Established Child Protection Task Force MWASD, August 2015 MWASD Follow up cases of abuse against children
22 Establishment of Local Government Child Right Implementation Committee (LCRIC) In 12 LGA’s, March, 2016 MWASD/SMILE In collaboration with the State Government
23 Children’s day celebration IBB Square Makurdi, May 2016 MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
24 Graduated eighty five (85) children Pauline Maka Day Care Centre, July, 2016 MWASD Assisted by the State Government
25 Benue Launched-End Violence Against Children (VAC) Benue Hotel Makurdi, September, 2016 MWASD/SMILE In collaboration with the Benue State Government
26 Replacement of leaking roof in Macafa Park Maryam Abacha Children Amusement Park, 2016 MWASD Financed by MWASD
27 Patch up of the fence at Macafa Park Maryam Abacha Children Amusement Park, 2016 MWASD Financed by MWASD
28 Conversion of twelve casual staff at Mama Abaiyol Mama Abaiyol Children Home MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
29 Reunification of twenty four children with their parents Mama Abaiyol Children Home MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
30 Adopted twelve children into various homes Mama Abaiyol Children Home MWASD Fostering and Adoption Committee
31 Enrolled one child into secondary school and six into primary school Mama Abaiyol Children Home MWASD State Government
32 Release of monthly impress to carter for the needs of the children at Mama Abaiyol Mama Abaiyol Children Home MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
33 Rehabilitation of borehole at Mama Abaiyol Mama Abaiyol MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
34 Repair of nettings at Mama Abaiyol Mama Abaiyol MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
35 Repair of Computer room for children at Mama Abaiyol Mama Abaiyol MWASD Sponsored by the Governor
36 Developed and printed child protection policy Mama Abaiyol MWASD Benue State Government in collaboration with Smile
37 Developed and printed Children Service Directory Mama Abaiyol MWASD Benue State Government in collaboration with Smile
38 Celebrated Breast feeding week Buruku LG, August, 2016 MWASD In collaboration with the State Government
39 Celebrated the international women’s day NULGE Hall, Makurdi, March, 2016 MWASD In collaboration with the state government
40 Printed pamphlets to celebrate International Women’s Day HIV/AIDS Women Empowerment Project. Combating Gender Based Violence (GBV), the efforts of the MWASD MWASD 2016 MWASD In collaboration with the State Government
41 Declaration to end Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) in Obi and Oju LGAs Obi and Oju LGAs August – September, 2016 Benue State Planning Commission/UNEPA UNEPA and BSPC
42 Trained Sixty (60) staff on diarrhea prevention and management 1. Chateau D Victoria MKD 2. Pauline Maka Centre, August, 2016 SHOPS Sixty Staff Participated
43 Work resumed and nearing completion on the Cancer Screening Centre, Makurdi Pauline Maka Centre, 2016 MWASD IDS Contractor work on going
44 ·         Renting of the square to the public ·         Cleaning and maintenance of the area for public use ·         Beautifying and securing the place for public use I.B.B Square MWASD On-going
45 Releases of funds for feeding of disabled children undergoing training at the Rehabilitation Board Apir AGs Office State Government Money judiciously utilized
46 ·        Counseling services on ·        Family cases: 833 ·        Kindred cases: 409 ·        Juvenile Cases: 56 ·        Child abuse: 15 ·        Rescuing of abandoned children and handed them over to child department ·        Repatriation of destitute from different locations across the country, and are reunited with their families ·        Provision of medical support to destitute Divisional Social Welfare Offices in the 18 Local Government Areas   Div. Social Welfare Offices   MWASD       MWASD Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development     MWASD     MWASD       MWASD   On-going
47 ·        HIV UNIT…Training of 129 older vulnerable children, care givers and female PLWHA in skill acquisition to be economically independent ·        Provision of transport stipends, training materials and payments to trainers ·        Provision of take-off grants, equipment’s and certificates to the beneficiaries ·        SACA and other Development Partners have contributed immensely to capacity building of staff of the Ministry Participants selected from the three senatorial zones   Makurdi, Gboko, K/Ala, Vandeikya, Otukpo and Oju   Jan. 2016 Ministry of Women Affairs an Social Development in conjunction with BENSACA. ASHWAN, BENPLUS.   Financed by the World Bank On-going
48 ·        The Ministry has registered 272 Associations and NGOs across the state ·        This is to ensure that they are viable and are known to the state ·        Also, for easy identification. They might also be called upon to partner with government for the development of the society Registration process starts at the Divisional Social Welfare Offices and certificates are issued at the state headquarters. MWASD On-goind
49 Remand Home Gboko ·        Over 120 inmates were admitted into the home ·        Activities include counseling of inmates on attitudinal change ·        Skill acquisition training for inmates at the home ·        Taking of inmates to and from court ·        Repatriation of inmates back to their homes upon discharge ·        Medical treatment of inmates ·        Feeding and care of juvenile inmates ·        Government has renovated two hostel blocks at remand home ·        Government has also provided uniforms and beddings to inmates at the home ·        The Ministry is partnering with peace house and other religious bodies to provide spiritual counseling to the inmates ·        The Ministry is also collaborating with an individual to construct a poultry to teach the inmates on poultry farming Remand Home, Gboko MWASD On-going
50 Provision of a Toyota Haice Bus for the School children at the Rehabilitation Board
51 Release of funds for payment of school fees of six (6) disabled persons who were trained from the Nigerian Farm Craft Center, Lagos in 2015 and disabilities in skills acquisition at Apir November, 2015 November, 2016 His Excellency
52 Annual Celebration of World Disability Day on the 3rd December, 2015 and 3rd December, 2016 2015/2016 By His Excellency
53 Coordination and production of 2016 Action Plan for MWASD MWASD, January, 2016 MWASD Final copy produced for the ministry
54 Collation and analysis of quarterly reports on the activities and programmes of the ministry MWASD, quarterly MWASD (PRS Dept) Limited cooperation from Department
55 Participation at IFAD-TWG Field trip Gwer-West a Okpokwu LGAs, June 2016 IFAD/Ministry of Agriculture Visited IFAD programme sites in the two LGAs
56 Granted information on 2015 manpower statistics of MWASD to FCC MWASD, January, 2016 Federal Character Commission Comprehensive Data forwarded to FCC
57 Granted information (quarterly) on public institutions job creation survey MWASD, Quarterly NBS Comprehensive data forwarded to NBS
58 Survey on participation of women in politics (1999-2015) Makurdi, February, 2016 NCWD/NBS Data collected successfully on: 1.      Appointed magistrates, judges and registrars 2.      Principal officers of Benue State House of Assembly 3.      Fleeted members of Benue State House of Assembly 4.      Political Party Executives of all registered parties in Benue State 5.      Permanent secretaries in the State 6.      Elected/appointed local government chairmen 7.      Commissioner and Special Adviser/Assistant to the Governor
  SUMMARY/CONCLUSION While we graciously appreciate the giant steps taken by His Excellency, Dr. Samuel I. Ortom, Executive Governor of the State in actualizing the Ministry’s core mandates in line with his administration’s policy “Our Collective Vision”. Worthy of note is the conversion of twelve (12) casual staff at Mama Abaiyol Children Home to permanent and pensionable status, timely release of funds for the celebration of the 2016 Children’s day, donation of 18 Seater Toyota Bus to the Rehabilitation Board Apir. We are however faced with the following challenges which if we meet will go a long way in ensuring productivity as well as timely meeting of set goals. These include;
  1. Inadequate/untimely release of funds for the Ministry’s activities.
  2. Lack of office equipment i.e printers, photocopiers, laptops/desktops, for administrative duties.
  3. Inadequate office accommodation.
  4. Absence of utility vehicles for official assignments for all the departments.
  5. Absence of a functional family court.
  6. Dilapidated structures at Miriam Abacha Children Amusement Park (Macafa), Pauline Maka Day Care Centre, Divisional Welfare Offices, Maimuna Kontagora Hostel and Mama Abaiyol Children’s Home.
  7. Inadequate Hostels, Toilet Facilities, chairs as well as a functional generator set at the Mama Abaiyol Children’s Home.
  8. Improve capacity training for staff of the Ministry.
  9. Shortage of manpower and overhead in running the Divisional Social Welfare Area Offices.
  10. Inadequate funds to carryout Medical Services for Destitute.
  11. Poor funding for skill acquisition training.
  12. Lack of water supply at the IBB Square, Miriam Abacha Children’s Amusement Park, Mama Abaiyol Children Home and Remand Home Gboko.
  13. Lack of Medical Personnel at the Remand Home, Gboko.
  14. Non-conversion of casual staff at the Ministry’s headquarters and Rehabilitation Board, Apir.
At this point, we are sincerely grateful to His Excellency, Govenor Samuel I. Ortom, for his numerous support and assistance to the Ministry in carrying out her core mandate. We also wish to solicit for timely release of budgetary allocation to the Ministry and possible conversion of the casual staff at the Ministry’s Headquarters/Rehabilitation Board to permanent and pensionable status. Thank you for listening, God bless Benue State. Long live MWASD! Long live Governor Samuel I. Ortom!! Long live Benue State!!!