President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday pledged to continue to be fair and just to women in terms of appointments and realisation of the 35 per cent affirmative action.
The President said this during an audience with the leadership of the National Council for Women Societies at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said his administration would look into possible appointment of women ministers to replace those that left the cabinet recently.
He also said that soft loans would be made available to women for agricultural activities.
President Buhari promised to address the deficit in women appointments by appointing more women into the cabinet following the demand by the NCWS for more women representation in the Federal cabinet.
He said: “I have appreciated the subtle and timely threat you have made.
“I said timely because you waited until campaigns are about to start, you mobilised yourselves to come and threaten.
“I hope you are being very fair to me.
“I will leave you to the public to judge.
“You said I haven’t replaced the casualties from my council about the ladies.
“I’m sure you are following up (Finance and Women Affairs).
“One applied to leave because I think she wants to be the governor of the state (Aisha Alhassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba) and one failed to meet the government requirement of declaring NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) certificate (Kemi Adeosun).
“I replaced them with other ladies.
“So, I don’t know where I went wrong there.
“This deficit in women appointments I will look at it and the road is clear.
“Election is coming.
“Perhaps I will get a few more advisers, ministers from the women.
“I thank you most sincerely for coming to see me.”
On the rate of sexual violence and abuse in society, particularly at the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, the President said he had already directed the security agencies to immediately address the problem.
He said the security agencies had been directed to bring to book all those implicated in the dastardly acts.
Buhari said: “I have taken note of the observations you made on the abuse of women in the IDPs camps.
“I’m encouraging the police to be much more efficient and I think something is being done about it.”
The President also pledged to ensure that women farmers benefit from Federal Government’s agricultural loans and other programmes to boost food production in the country.
He, therefore, advised the women to form themselves into cooperative societies to enable them benefit from such loans.
In her remarks, the President of the NCWS, Gloria Laraba, commended the Buhari-led administration for implementing laudable programmes that aim to uplift the quality of life of the citizens.
According to her, the Trader Moni programme is a worthwhile intervention to keep the spirit of entrepreneurship alive in local communities and help petty traders grow their micro businesses.
Laraba said: “We are pleased that these initiatives are beneficial to many of our women one way or another.
“This is because we are in the front-end of the concerned activities and will be impacted the most.”
Laraba called on the president to encourage the Nigeria Police to strengthen its investigation and prosecution of sexual violence through the creation of a new department to arrest the menace across the country.
She also urged the President to appoint more women as members of the Federal Cabinet to replace those that left recently.