NEWS DIGEST – The Minister of Youths and Sports Solomon Dalung, on Thursday challenged Nigerian women to create an agenda that would promote gender equality and ensure its sustainability.

Dalung gave the charge on Thursday in Abuja on the sidelines of a football match tagged: “Football for Better Balance’’, organised by Fame Foundation, an NGO, as part of activities to mark the 2019 International Women‘s Day.

According to him, looking at the theme for this year’s celebration, it is pertinent that women fashion out an action plan that spells out the needs of the female gender.

He, however, said the struggle for the emancipation of the Nigerian woman was yet to begin.

“Every time women talk about affirmative action, that is not an agenda; an agenda is what does the Nigerian woman want, is it the control of the economy, politics or the social system?

“These are agendas, priorities that the women should work on and not agitations. What we have now is that the women are asking for participation.

“The whole thing looks like there is absence of an agenda for the women. So with this year’s celebration, the women should develop an agenda.

“ It is not, however, about participation, there should be a means of investing in that agenda and it should have a succession plan.

“That is when I will know that the women have started,’’ the minister said.

Speaking earlier at the event, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, for Social Protection Plan, Mrs Maryam Uwais, said that Nigeria still had a long way to go in achieving a holistic empowerment for women.

“We must however, make it a point to celebrate progress and milestones, great and small. This is why I wish to congratulate the organisers of this programme,’’ Uwais said.

She said it was apparent that the inclusion of women in all spheres of life, would help in the socio-economic development of the country.

The lawyer and human rights activist noted that in today’s global market, women had an inclusive, compassionate stance to issues; and believed in collaborative efforts.

Uwais called for the creation of policies to drive quality and affordable education of the Girl-Child; to empower her with skills that would enable her succeed in the formal sector.

This, she said could be done by increasing/creating opportunities; and providing incentives for women and girls’ education.

Mrs Aderonke Bello, the founder of Fame Foundation, organisers of the match, said the match was aimed at celebrating the International women’s Day in a different dimension.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that four female football teams namely, All Stars, Team Fame, Team Nigeria Union of Teachers and Team Nigeria Union of Journalists featured in the match.

NAN also reports that All Stars won the match with Team Fame placing second. (NAN)