It was joy galore on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, when about 150 women across six councils in Ikorodu division received cash to support their respective small scale businesses.
The laudable gesture was part of the Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES), which is an initiative of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), an agency of the Federal Government.
The fund was facilitated by Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun, the first Secretary to the Lagos State Government and a chieftain of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC), who was nominated as a member of the National Directorate of Employment by President Muhammadu Buhari few years ago. The cash was presented to the beneficiaries at a programme organized by NDE at the Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun ICT/Community Hall located within the premises of Oreyo Grammar School, Igbogbo.
In his address at the event, Doctor Nasir Ladan Argungun, the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, who was represented by Mrs. Edward Olayemi Serena, NDE State Coordinator, Lagos State, stated that the disbursement of the Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES) is aimed at alleviating the challenges being faced by small scale business owners in Ikorodu and Lagos State as a whole.
Argungun stated that the initiative is meant to empower the beneficiaries. “Under Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES), women who are petty traders would be empowered to boost their businesses in a bid to alleviate poverty among them.” As the saying goes, “Train a woman, you train a nation.” He stated that NDE has been supportive of the Nigerian women with its programmes like Vocational Skills Development, Small Scale Enterprise, Rural Employment Promotion and Specific Public Works to offer employment, self-reliance and create employers of labour. Today’s milestone is a demonstration of NDE’s support for women and to prove that the Directorate is gender sensitive.”
While stating that the agency has several job creation schemes that are beneficial to all age group, gender and interests, Dr. Argungun charged women to make themselves available when such opportunities arise. He also charged beneficiaries to make good use of the support by using it to support their businesses. The NDE DG also commended the facilitator of the scheme for women in Ikorodu Division, Asiwaju Bashorun, for ensuring that the programme came to fruition and creating collaboration between NDE and the people of Ikorodu division.
Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun, a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council in the State and member of the National Directorate of Employment, speaking at the event, stated that the empowerment was facilitated for the whole Ikorodu Division. He added that stakeholders from necessary quarters within the six councils were invited to the programme but that he didn’t know why some of them were not present.
And to demonstrate that beneficiaries of the programme cut across the six councils in Ikorodu division, Asiwaju Bashorun called them council by council and they signified their presence by raising their hands.
“This programme is for all of us and this is the beginning of many more programmes that our people will be benefitting from in Ikorodu Division as the Director General has stated. More impacting programmes would still come where people would get as much as equipment for their businesses like sewing machines and even vehicles. By the time we get to that stage, you will all be invited and given forms and I hope that you will all answer us when the time comes.”
The Chairman, Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Council Development Area, Builder Sesan Daini, in his remarks, also commended Asiwaju Basorun for facilitating the programme for the benefit of the people of his constituency and charged beneficiaries to use the fund to improve their businesses. “It is commendable that this is happening in Ikorodu aside the general one for the State. It shows that our father and leader has done well as a member of NDE and that is why they are giving him this honour.”
Honourable Daini, while stating that NDE was founded in 1986 to create employment when the country was going into recession during the military era of Badamosi Babangida, he added that what the present Federal Government, under the All Progressive Congress (APC), is doing with the Directorate is to make life better for people.
“The purpose of this money being given to you is to add it to whatsoever business that you are doing because the scheme is to ensure that you are moved from your present situation to a step higher.
The Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Semiudeen Kasali, also thanked Asiwaju Basorun for using NDE to assist traders in the grassroots and stated that beneficiaries should consider themselves lucky and make good use of the fund given to them.
“I want to thank the leadership of the ruling party for the priviledge and opportunity to have our father, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun as a board member of the NDE that has been well entrenched in the society and touching the lives of less priviledged in the society.”
We (Adeboruwa-in-council) are here to show our support for the laudable programme which will further enhance the lives of our people and bring peace in the society.”
Oba Kasali also thanked the Director General of NDE for considering it worthwhile to honour Asiwaju Bashorun by approving that the programme should be organized to empower the people of Ikorodu division aside the general one held in the State recently.