Women Have A Role To Play In  Development Of Society  – Dr Maryam Abacha

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By; IMRANA ABDULLAHI, Kaduna

Hajiya (Dr.) Maryam Abacha, the wife of the former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, has called on the society, especially men, to give women the opportunity and freedom to seek for Western education, learn skills and work for the development of the nation.

Maryam Abacha made the remarks on Tuesday, while interacting with  journalists at her residence in Abuja.

Dr. Maryam said women influence building a better society because they are caretakers and can contribute significantly to the growth and development of society if given the opportunity. 

She used the medium to make a special appeal to men to allow their wives  seek education, learn skills and work for the betterment of themselves and the society at large.

Dr. Maryam said men in the Northern part of Nigeria do not support their wives to achieve their desired goals, stressing that lack of support from men is bringing set back to the region. 

However, she advised women to be humble and to protect their dignity when they have the opportunity,  “protecting your dignity is very useful,” she said.

She recalled how she advised her husband to help Nigerian citizens, while urging women to always help their husbands with advice and information that is reasonable. 

She called on men to listen to their wives’ advices, adding, “if you do so, it would benefit you.

 “I have often given advice to my husband, and he used, which eventually benefitted the country.”

Maryam said, “It is good for women to join their husbands in making reforms that will benefit society.”

She advised anyone who finds himself in a position of authority to make sure he serves the community and not be an oppressor, because according to her, life is dynamic.

“Whenever you get a chance in life; be it being affluent or having power, be fair, just, kind and honest to everyone irrespective of status. Life is unpredictable,’ she said.

She told the journalists that,  anything a person has decided to do in life, should be done with good intentions, “surely God will help you”, she said.

She urged women to read the stories of those who preceded them to understand the mistakes they made and to learn from them.

Hajiya (Dr.) Maryam Abacha outlined the development she brought when she held the leadership of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) and during her tenure as the First Lady of Nigeria.

During her tenure as president of NAOWA, she said,   many programmes were initiated  to support soldiers and their women by educating, teaching and supporting their children. 

She also initiated and presided over the formation of joint military and police officers wives associations and equally encouraged the growth of other human development activities. 

She saw to the creation of the Joint Armed Forces and Police Officers Wives Consultative Committee (JOFOPOWOCCO) which was renamed,  Defense and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) to enhance the cordial relationship between the presidency and the various arms of the Armed Forces and the Police

Hajiya Maryam while holding the office of First Lady, sustained welfare programmes, including,  the Family Support Programme (FSP), a programme focused on health, education, agriculture, income generation, disability and destitution, among others. 

She also initiated the Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), the National Programme on Immunization, the Legal Aid Clinic Programme, the National Hospital for women and children, contributions to the State House, government programmes, the establishment of a liaison office for former heads of state and spouses, among others.

After that, in the health sector, she initiated and sponsored many seminars and workshops on Health; HIV/AIDS; immunization on children, and a programme designed to eradicate six childhood killer diseases in Nigeria.

She was appointed a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) of Polio-Free Africa, a distinguished African leadership committee established to eradicate polio in Africa.

The advice of the former First Lady of Nigeria, Hajiya Maryam Abacha gave birth to the Federal Ministry For Women and Social Development.

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