The Katsina State Government is promising to empower 400,000 women across the 34 Local Government Areas of the state this year.
This figure was raised after the State Ministry for Women Affairs advertised vacancies seeking suitable applications from various women’s corporative groups in the state.
According to the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon. Zainab Musa Musawa, 7,000 corporative groups have so far registered with her ministry and about 400,000 names of women who are in various businesses in the state have been captured.
Hon. Musawa who was speaking on Friday in her office at the Katsina Secretariat Complex during a media chat with Katsina Press Forum announced that registration into the ministry’s program was free.
She said the state government is planning to revive at least seven cottage industries cut across the three senatorial zones of Daura, Funtua, and Katsina in order to empower women in various trades and to generate more revenue for the state by extension.
The state government, she said, will start the revitalization project in the crawling stage where the Kankia Oil Extraction Centre will be started this year.
Other cottage industries to be revived, according to the commissioner, include the Ajiwa Pottery Centre, Daura Bakery Centre, and Malumfashi Grain Processing Centre among others.
“We have Ajiwa Pottery Center which was established during the IBB’s regime where the then First Lady, Maryam Babangida commissioned it. Over the past 200 years, the people of Ajiwa have been into the pottery trade because they have natural clay for making pottery.
“We are also talking to Federal Government agencies to see how we can bring in modular machines that can revive the centre for women empowerment. We want Katsina in the next four years to be one of the states that produce the most beautiful clay pots, cooking pots, baking, and flower pots. This will become a source of income for local women through beautiful pottery designs and making
“We also have the Daura bakery which in the last six years, efforts were made by the previous government to revive it but proved abortive. We are also in discussions with federal agencies to see how we can kickstart the center so that we can empower women groups and young girls to be self-reliant. By doing this, the state will also generate a lot of income.
“We also have the Kankia Oil Extraction Centre which is one of the key assets that the state has. The ministry is trying to also bring in modular modern oil extraction machines to encourage and empower women in this regard.
“In this regard, the government will be buying either the raw material or the finished product from the women, package and sell it off. We are planning to make Katsina an oil-producing state.
“We also have Malumfashi Grain Processing Centre. Here, the machines have been outdated and we want to improve on the standard of the machines so that women can pay small subsidized amount of money and process their sacks of grains from the farm to the center and make it into powdery form to start selling.
“These and other centers we intend to revive from this year. And we are going to start in the crawling stage. We are going to start with the Kankia for this year”, Musawa added.
Going by these interventions, Hon. Musawa is hoping to see that women are in the next four years empowered and financially literate as well as medically fit in addition to physically, mentally, and emotionally informed with their rights being protected.
“We are here to represent the status of women and to change the lives of women. The vision of what we are doing here is all-encompassing.
“We registered for one month and that was in collaboration with the ministry of agriculture, commerce, and that of youths,” she said.
The commissioner while highlighting some of the recent achievements recorded by her ministry in the last eight years noted that the signing into law and implementation of Gender Based Violence (GBV) was one of the ministry’s remarkable and overall achievements.
“We are also working with stakeholders to ensure justice is being served for victims of forced marriage, human trafficking, nannies, and rape victims among others. We have resolved several cases of forced marriages,” she stated.