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MMS WoFHoF Condemns FG’s suspension of ‘Trader Moni’ Scheme

·         Introduces
grant to empower 250,000 women

for 40% gender inclusiveness for women

MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF)
Initiative has condemned Federal Government’s suspension of ‘Trader Moni’
scheme which has seen traders, mostly women fleeced of over N6 billion as two
million applicants paid N3,000 at the commercial banks without obtaining
 the loans.

The non-profit organization made this call at a
press briefing while it marked the International Women’s Day with ‘Walk Woman,
Think Equal’ road walk in Festac, Lagos last week, admonishing the government
to restructure the scheme rather than jettison it.

The group argued that the sudden suspension of the
much celebrated ‘Trader Moni’ loan initiative left ordinary Nigerians irked as
to whether the initiative was a political strategy to get the endorsement of
traders during the recent presidential elections or a poverty alleviation

The Executive Secretary of MMS WoFHoF Initiative,
Mrs. Chioma Nwagbo who made this call during the press conference last week
said; “The Presidency should be commended for introducing ‘Trader Moni’ scheme,
an initiative intended to empower the Nigerian trader but this scheme has been
engulfed in needless controversies. The reported payment of N3000 and more to
stipulated commercial banks as ‘Trader Moni’ registration by over two million
people makes mockery of the otherwise laudable scheme.”

Speaking further, she queried: “What can N10,000 do
for a petty trader in the contemporary Nigerian society? The money is too small
but the scheme shouldn’t be suspended. It’s restructuring and reorganization of
the initiative and not suspension that is required. Was ‘Trader Moni’ a
political scheme or an economic one?”

Recall that the N3,000 fee collected at the
commercial banks wasn’t captured in the publicized requirements of the ‘Trader
Moni’ scheme as petty traders, market women, artisans and small scale business
owners are made to pay the non-refundable fee without any guarantee of
receiving the minimum N10,000 to cater for their businesses.

Meanwhile, Nwagbo noted that MMS WoFHoF Initiative
was bent on empowering and training the next generation of women leaders in the
maritime, oil and gas, finance, aviation as well as political leadership

As part of efforts to empower people, the Executive
Secretary who led a rally also said that the Initiative had a five-year vision
to empower 250,000 women titled: ‘Vision 5W-250,000 Project’.

According to her, the Initiative had started
empowering women with quick cash to start-up or boost their businesses and the
programme intends to touch the lives of 50,000 women annually to reach 250,000
in five years.

“In Africa, Nigeria to be precise, the cultural
political background confines women to their homes, especially the kitchen and
the other room. This does not allow them to come out to the limelight. 

“As part
of the efforts to correct this, MMS WoFHoF Initiative titled today’s walk,
‘Walk Woman, Think Equal’. This is to encourage a woman to believe in herself
and believe in her abilities to go beyond the confines of her home. A woman
should aim high to make significant achievements by impacting the society
positively,” she said.

Meanwhile, one of the MMS Hall of Famers and President
of Women in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hajia
Bola Muse, commended Nigerian women for their amazing ability to multi-task and
put in the best on all sides.

“A woman is at work, yet she is thinking of her kids
in the school, thinking of making dinner back home. She cares for the homes and
manages the home. She also takes charge at the office or her business. Women
are amazing. Women are privileged to partner with God in bringing forth several
generations. We house the baby and bring forth the baby in due time,” she said.

Bola Muse who is also the President of African Women
in Maritime (WIMAFRICA) Nigerian chapter, was represented by Mrs. Ruth
Chukwukezirim. She advised women not to believe in the fallacy that certain trade
was for men.

“When people say freight forwarding is men’s trade,
I say: Really? Can you show me where it is written that it is men’s trade?
Nobody has been able to show me. This means we can do anything as women and we
have top women in the maritime sector. 
“We have somebody like Hajia Bola Muse
who has risen to the top in freight forwarding practice in Nigeria. There are
also other maritime amazons like Barr. (Mrs.) Jean-Chiazor Anishere, Barr.
(Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi, among others. This means women can not only play a
role in the shipping sector but also rise to the pinnacle” she added.

She stressed that there were enormous opportunities
for women in the maritime sector. “A woman can find a place in maritime of the
logistics value chain. Women can do clearing, shipping, ship-chandling,
insurance, maritime law, etc. There are also opportunities for fishing, tourism
and other aspects in the blue economy,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Head of Department, Women Affairs and
Poverty Alleviation at Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, Mrs. Temitayo
Dabiri-Raji, commended the women who took part in the ‘Women’s Walk’ in Lagos as
well as others all around the world.

Referring to women as the salt of life, she said; “I
strongly believe that if you train a woman, you train a nation. I want to
specially commend the Federal, State and Local governments in Nigeria for their
efforts towards ensuring gender equality in governance. At the moment, women
are encouraged to partake in decision making in all the three tiers of government.
Several state governments and local governments have been keen to train women
and empower them.”

She revealed that at the Amuwo-Odofin LGA, there are
skill acquisition centres which train women and young girls on various skills
such as; bead making, snail farming, hat making, make-ups, among others, noting
that the essence of the initiative was to enable women contribute to the growth
and development of their immediate families.

Condemning the rate of domestic violent issues in
the country, Dabiri-Raji urged women undergoing such turmoil to speak out.

“Those who have suffered domestic violence should go
to the available portals to lodge their complaints and be assured that the
complaints would be attended to. Women should also be very diligent in terms of
child upbringing and not just trust family members to do the task,” she said.

As part of the efforts to grow the feminine brand in
Nigeria, the Founder of the MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke urged
the Federal Government to reserve certain positions in government agencies for

Drawing an analogy with the federal character system
in Nigeria, he said; “We have federal character in Nigeria, so we should be
able to have gender character that should define inclusiveness of women in all
sectors and capture the gender sensitivity of the nation. To help us bridge
that gender gap, we should be able to reserve 40% of government recruitments
across board. If we do this over a period of time, we would have more women
participating in various sectors.”

He also stressed the need to have more women in
politics, stating that the current administration should carry out the 35%
Affirmative action that the former administration started.

“We should not look at party affiliation on these
issues but look at the best interest of the nation. If a former administration
had a good idea (35% Affirmative action) that it was unable to develop, why not
copy the idea or continue from where they stopped?” he said.

In sync with the International Maritime Organization
(IMO), World Maritime Day’s theme; ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime
Community’, MMS WoFHoF Initiative would organize a ceremony to mark its ‘Hall
of Famer’s Day’ on Tuesday March 19th, at Golden Gate, Ikoyi, Lagos by 4pm.

The event is scheduled to recognize and celebrate
some ‘Indomitable Maritime Amazons’ who have made modest contributions in the
maritime industry. MMS WoFHoF Initiative calls on maritime professionals and
noble organizations to deepen their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
impact by partnering  the NGO to enable it execute Vision 5W-250,000.

MMS WoFHoF Initiative is a non- profit organization
with the pre-occupation of empowering , training and producing the next
generation of leaders in the maritime , oil and gas, finance, aviation as well
as political leadership sectors.

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