The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled plans to partner with the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) by empowering young widows of slain Soldiers as well as youths.
This was disclosed during the weekend by the Minister of humanitarian affairs Mrs Sadiya Umar Farouq when the wife of the Chief of Army Staff and NAOWA National President, Mrs Salamatu Farouk Yahaya led the association to pay her a courtesy visit in Abuja.
She urged NAOWA to take advantage of the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme to acquire interest-free loans for young widows to start small businesses and also register youths in the barracks for N-Power and N-Skills programmes.
The Minister who stated that if NAOWA Children’s Schools qualified for the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, their pupils may also be enrolled to benefit from the feeding programme, promised a collaboration with the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association in other areas of humanitarian support.
“As a result of our vast mandates in humanitarian and development, the Ministry will continue to collaborate with relevant bodies like NAOWA to enable us to attain our mandates.
“Given the fact that NAOWA has a wide coverage across the country and the fact that your activities are mostly humanitarian, l wish to assure you that NAOWA is a very relevant body the Ministry will be willing to collaborate with,” the Minister stated.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation and President of the Association, Mrs Salamatu Yahaya stated possible areas of cooperation with the ministry which included assisting the poor in the barracks especially widows, youth and children through empowerment programmes, sponsorships, donations and training.
“NAOWA humanitarian activities include providing relief items to the needy, providing medical equipment to health care centres, paying medical bills of patients, empowerment programs for women and youths, through NAOWA skills acquisition centres, sponsorship for training, entrepreneurship training for youths and provision of start-up grants for women in collaboration with SMEDAN.
“Due to the current natural and man-made disasters confronting the country, NAOWA target beneficiaries have increased rapidly creating difficulty for the Association in carrying out her humanitarian pursuits. This necessitated the need for collaboration with other institutions with similar mandates.
“NAOWA target beneficiaries are mostly widows, orphans, youths, IDPs and victims of natural disasters. Nevertheless, NAOWA has extended its target base to include sick persons who could not afford their medical bills, internally displaced persons, and religious/traditional institutions that have less privileged persons under their care,” she noted.
Mrs Yahaya also expressed interest in sharing initiatives, conducting joint humanitarian programs in areas of training and empowerment of vulnerable persons, donating required items to health care facilities and distributing of relief items.