By Juliet Umeh
To achieve an inclusive socio-economic development in Nigeria, the Federal Government has said that it is ready to narrow the gender gap that exists in science and technology sector.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu revealed this while receiving the Chairperson of The Women Leadership Institute, Amb. Dr. Kema Chikwe in Abuja.
Chikwe was also a former Minister of Aviation and former Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.
Onu stated that the role of Women cannot be underrated, adding that the developmental efforts of the government cannot be achieved without the active contribution of women to Science, Technology and Innovation.
He said: “The Ministry has made a lot of efforts in encouraging the girl child, focus more on Science, technology and Innovation”.
Onu noted that for Nigeria to achieve meaningful development, everyone needs to be on board to make our economy grow and be globally competitive.
He said Nigeria experienced an economic downturn because of her dependence on resources and the fall in crude oil prices, adding that this has made a knowledge and innovation-driven economy imperative.
He praised the exemplary leadership of Amb. Chikwe, adding that her meaningful experience in the field of leadership and diplomacy, will be a stepping stone to encouraging women embrace Science, Technology and Innovation for national socio-economic growth.
He charged the Women Leadership Institute to show Women through her developmental programmes that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is pivotal to the development of the country.
Earlier in her remarks, Dr. Kema Chikwe said her institute is seeking closer cooperation with the Ministry on gender-based development.
She described her Institute as being the first Institute in the country to develop the leadership capacity of Women, adding that the institute is non-partisan and will accommodate women across all political spectrum.
She explained that the Institute offers masterclasses on leadership, Entrepreneurship, Agric. Business and Information Communication Technology, ICT.
She added that her institute is focused on re-orientating gender issues and development and said her useful experience in various leadership roles will be helpful in achieving the goals of the institute.
She sought the cooperation of the Ministry to help Women embrace ICT for posterity reasons and add value to their businesses. She urged the Ministry to send female participants to the training programmes of the institute.