A centre to counsel and economically empower women has been inaugurated in Calabar, Cross River State.
The wife of the Chief of Naval Staff and President of Naval Officers Wives Association, NOWA, Theresa Ibok-Ette Ibas commissioned the centre to mark the International day to end violence against women and girls.
Mrs. Ibas, who noted the growing incidences of violence against women, said that the centre would enable navy wives and all women have access to information, as well as enhance capacity building.
According to Ibas, “the need for a secretariat such as these cannot be over emphasised. NOWA, which started as a tea party by Anne Way, is a non-profit organisation that caters the needs of families of personnel and the society.”
“This secretariat would provide a functional base for NOWA activities such as empower women by organising skill acquisition programmes, seminars, workshops and talks on pertinent issues concerning women.”
Ibas stated that, “As we join the world to mark the international day for the elimination of violence against women, we urge every woman affected by violence not to keep it secret, but report to the appropriate authorities to serve as deterrent to those who like to be violent on women.”
She commended the Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, for providing support to the actualisation of the NOWA vision.
Earlier, the initiator of the project and leader of the Eastern Naval Command branch of NOWA, Mrs. Omotayo Oluwole attributed the construction of the centre to “the desire to serve women, children and humanity.”
She said that: “The idea to have this centre commissioned today when the world is advocating an end to violence against women was not far-fetched as our organisation was saddled with the responsibility of handling issues faced by women.”
“By empowering women through skills training, we believe that our women would be able to stand tall and take their place in the fabrics of this nation. It is also our responsibility to enlighten women on their civil responsibilities and rights to the nation and their families.”
She hinted that, “there will be a counselling unit, medical unit and other relevant units at the centre to enable us achieve our vision and mission as a non-governmental agency committed to the emancipation of women.”
In a brief remark, Rear Admiral Oluwole said the NOWA centre was constructed with the support of the Chief of Naval Staff.
He urged the women to utilize the centre for the benefit of all navy families and humanity, noting “without women, our families will not be cared for, as we move around the country to serve. Your role as mothers, wives and sisters is pivotal to societal growth. This is in recognition of that role.”
He added that: “The building was christened Theresa Ibas centre in honour of the women, the Chief of Naval Staff and the National President of NOWA, Mrs. Ibas, for her resilience and commitment to the family values.”
Highlight of the event were cultural and drama presentations by pupils of NOWA primary and secondary schools in Calabar.