Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, the wife of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, have called on Nigerians to pray fervently for the safe return of the 110 girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, last Monday.
Mrs Osinbajo noted that Nigerians must realise the need to be their brothers’ keepers at a trying time as this, especially by praying that the missing girls have a safe return.
She however pointed out that kidnappers too have mothers, sisters and possibly daughters, and must not put fellow mothers, sisters and daughters of other people in undue panic and sorrow by kidnapping innocent girls.
The duo spoke at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference of Osun Officials’ Wives Association (OSUNWA) tagged: “Virtuous Woman: Pushing for Greater Development.”
Aregbesola called on the participants to observe a one-minute prayers for the safe release of the abducted girls.
He urged them to ask God to touch the hearts of the insurgents to hasten the release of the girls and other victims that are in their captivity.
He mentioned that women are central to life, stressing that they are guarantors and caretakers of the human race.
“I want to use this opportunity of this gathering, being a gathering of mostly women to ask that we all stand up and pray for the safe return of the girls that are supposed to be in schools that were kidnapped by some criminals in the northern part of our country,” Aregbesola said.
“Let us pray for the safety of the girls and their return. We should all as women and Nigerians pray to God to touch the hearts of the criminals to hasten the release of those innocent girls and those with the same experience,” he added.
“Don’t fail to let your conference address the issue of those cowards who adopted our girls, tell them in your resolutions that if they are not cowards, they should stop denying innocent girls their freedom, but face soldiers who are in the region for peace keeping,” he added.
Mrs Osinbajo, while speaking further, tasked women to assess themselves and ensure that they are pushing for greater development by participating in their civic responsibilities such as voting during elections and participation in active politics.
“The challenges we face as a nation today is a product of our negligence to civic responsibilities as women and mothers. What is development today may not be considered as development tomorrow. That is why we need a greater development through women participation in the efforts for nation building,” she said.
“We need to assess ourselves as individuals, women, mothers and as wives of government officials, particularly on the need to impact on our collective lives and in the lives of the people,” she added.
Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola stated that the conference was organized on the need to further enlarge the frontiers of human development.
“Our development focus will embrace training in skills and economic empowerment, creation of awareness and intervention in critical health-related issues, civic and development policy advocacy among others,” she said.
“A similar association has attained a lot of mileage in our sister states. We are happy to note that recently, Ondo inaugurated its own association. This is a good development which promises to create a stronger bond and enhanced integration among women in the South West,” Mrs Aregbesola said.
The Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, called on women to be virtuous and take their rightful place and contribute to the progress of society.
“A virtuous woman is someone who is foresighted. That woman must be noble. A virtuous woman therefore plays a major role in development. I therefore congratulate the wife of the governor of Osun on bringing up this programme,” he said.
Dignitaries at the occasion include wives of the governor of Ekiti, Lagos and Oyo states, Mrs Feyisetan Fayose, Mrs Bolanle Ambode and Mrs Florence Ajimobi respectively among others.