The Honourable Commissioner for Women Development and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, has reiterated the commitment of the Lagos State government to the empowerment of all categories of residents, especially women, saying it is a topmost priority of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration. The Commissioner made the disclosure on Thursday, while speaking at the opening session of a two-day business capacity building training for women in the public sector organised by the Women Development Centre (WDC), Agege, Lagos. She noted that the empowerment of women is particularly considered as essential in view of the massive roles they play as home builders, stressing that the Ministry’s focus on women empowerment stems from the conviction of the State government that womanhood comes with a lot of responsibilities. According to her, the strategy is to optimise and sustainably grow the local economy, projected to be the fifth-largest in Africa, by creating access for the emergence of more women entrepreneurs. She said: “In order to sustain and surpass our attainment in women empowerment, we have organised various short-term vocational skills acquisition training programmes to tackle unemployment among women and young female, widows, indigent/vulnerable women, women living with health challenges and disabilities, civil servants exiting from active service, women drawn from faith-based organisations and other categories of women in the State”. The Commissioner maintained that this was done with the assurance that the skills acquired will create income-generating ventures for the beneficiaries. Dada also disclosed that the WAPA Connect Conference, a women-focused gathering aimed at promoting a violence-free society by encouraging self-entrepreneurship through women empowerment and boosting financial independence, was organised to further explore opportunities for women development, stating that over 700 women, from all walks of life, attended the programme. “Without a doubt, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration has been clearly focused on improving the lot of women in the State”, she avowed. Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, WAPA, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, emphasised that the place of continuous empowerment cannot be over emphasised at this particular point, saying that the propensity to eradicate poverty and reduce hunger is a core part of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the present administration. In her words: “The Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration has prioritised the importance of expanding job creation and ensuring decent work for all; a people-centred approach that puts the needs of the residents at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies that have so far been launched”. Commending the organisers of the training programme for the laudable vision, Kalesanwo urged participants to make the best use of the opportunity to improve on their professional competence. Earlier, Director, WDC, Mrs. ‘Deola Adepoju said the most effective and pragmatic approach to unemployment is skill acquisition through strategic training programmes which will empower the women and youths to be economically independent and self-reliant. She emphasised that any society that fails to invest in its women and youth does so at its own peril, pointing out that this informed the massive investment of the State Government in various empowerment schemes for women and youths to acquire skills and relevant technical training that will empower them to become employers of labour. “The policy thrust of the current administration is to ensure poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth through empowerment”, she said.