A cross section of participants at the International Women’s Day Celebration in Port Harcourt, organised by Total E&P Nigeria Limited for Rivers onshore and offshore host community women
...As TEPNG celebrates women in host communities
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt Former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs Ibim Semenitari has called on women to be more participatory in nation’s leadership.
This as Mrs Semenitari who was also a former Commissioner for Information and Communication in Rivers State has urged government to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in the society.
Semenitari made the call on Monday in Port Harcourt, at the International Women’s Day Celebration organised by Total E&P Nigeria Limited for Rivers onshore and offshore host community women.
During her presentation at the event titled “Choose to Challenge”, Mrs Semenitari noted that the level of women representation and participation in Nigeria leadership is very low.
According to the former NDDC boss “The first thing is how to raise our daughters and sons at home, because it is these sons and daughters that goes to political leadership.
The matter of education is important, the issue of ensuring that women get jobs that are beyond lowly paid is critical. Ensuring that more women have access to grow.
“Government have a role to play, we must begin to put in place things like the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDOW) Principle.
“The Equal Opportunities Bill has been a battle. We should begin to put in place legislations that makes it possible for more women to have access. We must take away violence from our elections because women cannot cope with violence.
“We must reduce the corruption and patronage system that makes it critical to spend the kinds of money that women do not have, and also, they must provide support structure for women. Women ourselves must also provide structures for other women so that they can strive’, Mrs Semenitari advised. In his opening remarks, the Deputy Managing Director of the Port Harcourt District TEPNG, Mr Guillaume Dulout, stressed the need to recognise women for who they are and the role they play in nation building.
Represented by Mr Obinna Ofoezie, General Manager, Community Affairs, Project and Development of TEPNG, Dulout stated that the company will continue to support and celebrate women who have distinguished themselves in social, economic, cultural and political endeavours.
He urged women in host communities to assist the company deliver its mandate in a peaceful environment. “This year’s theme, “Choose to challenge'” is apt and coming at the right time. I humbly raise my hand in support! It is in this choice (to challenge) that the better world will emerge.
“I fully subscribe to the United Nation’s principles for the declaration of March 8, in every year as the International Women’s Day. We all should support and spread the awareness among people regarding women’s right for social justice and gender equality. I also subscribe to the celebration of women, who have distinguished themselves in social, economic, cultural and political endeavours.
“Women should and ought to be recognized for who they are, and their contributions to the world, without gender biases or barriers.
“Total E&P Nigeria Limited has always supported our women, be they in the communities or within our workspace. Our pledge to support them is embodied in our targeted social enhancement programs which are designed for the exclusive benefit of women groups, including widows in the host communities. And I wish to use this opportunity to implore you, our mothers and sisters, to help the company deliver on these initiatives in a peaceful ambiance in your respective communities.
“Though our reality has changed with the covid-19 pandemic and we are leaning how to interact and do things differently, we are not deterred; and will continue to pursue our goals of peaceful and sustainable partnerships with our host communities. We will continue to insist on safe and environmentally sustainable means of operating, despite the constant challenges of acts of vandalism, forced stoppages of operations and Sundry demands on the Company and her service providers.
“As today is one of the many days we pay tribute to you all, I would also acknowledge your various contributions towards the successes we have recorded in some of our empowerment programs in our host communities”, Mr Dulout added.
Also in his presentation “Confrontational Challenge/Choice and Collaborative Effort”, Dr Akpoki Charles, noted the need to challenge customs that deprive women of their rights.
He said that the fight is not for women alone, noting that in the past years women have proven that they will do well if given the opportunity of leadership in the society.
He advised that “women must rise up and say in the midst of their tragedy they must train their daughters to be sensible. We must let women be who they are within the norms and laws of the society”.
Dr Akpoki added that “Total is doing a great work. If all companies that operates in our vicinity like this can encourage women, change their mindset like Total is doing then we can change our societies, change our communities, particularly the oil producing communities”.
The over 500 women who were in their colourful attire at the event were selected from Ekpeye, Rebisi, Opobo, Nkoro, Egi, Rumuekpe, Elele Alimini, Idu Ama, Rumuogba and Andoni (offshore host).