International Day of Girl-Child: FCT minister, Tallen, others want girls empowered

FCT Minister of State, Ramatu Tijanni, has stressed the need to educate the girl-child toward identifying her potential dangers, sexual predators and seek help during distress.

She made the call at the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child with the theme“Girl Force:
Unscripted and unstoppable, empowering girls for a brighter tomorrow”.

International Day of the Girl-Child is an annual event declared by the UN and celebrated on Oct. 11 to promote girl’s
empowerment and highlight their challenges.

According to her, the ability of the girl-child to identify the dangers and potential sexual predators
will aid in reducing their vulnerability and expose the culprits.

She urged religious and community leaders to play vital roles in educating children, especially the girls
to enable them to perform well in the society like their counterparts in other nations.

She said “religious leaders should not only focus on building them spiritually, but also build them
educationally to empower them in the society.”

The minister listed challenges faced by the girl child in the society to include being victims of physical
and sexual abuse, human trafficking, child labour and denial to rights of inheritance.

She, therefore, called for total reorientation on the values of the girl-child, especially in education and
skills acquisition, which she said would aid in empowering them and enable them to succeed in their endeavours.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, while briefing newsmen on the celebration, said 24 states had signed the Child Rights Act(2003)
and urged the remaining 12 states to do same for the benefit of the girls and the nation at large.

She said “the benefits would lead to poverty reduction, better health outcomes, economic growth, reduced rates of child mortality and malnutrition.

“It would also help girls to achieve her potential.”

Tallen also disclosed that the ministry had inaugurated a technical working group for implementation of the Child Rights Act,
Menstural Health and Hygiene Management, and ending child marriage.

She, therefore encouraged parents, stakeholders to value the girl child to enable them to access quality education, protect them from
all forms of abuse and molestation.

The Director General, National Centre for Women Development, Mrs Mary Ekpere-Eta, encouraged stakeholders
to play vital roles toward protecting girls to ensure they received quality education and proper hygiene.

Ekpere-Eta said access to quality education for girls would further raise their consciousness, expose them to
knowledge and skills empowerment.

Mrs Esohe Egbike, the Education Adviser, UK Department for International Development, reiterated the
commitment of the organisation toward supporting girls to access quality education.

The Federation of Muslim Women in Nigeria (FOMWAN) advocated holistic approach to curb the use of girls by blind beggars for their trade.

The Chairperson, Bauchi State chapter of the association, Aisha Kilishi, made the call on Friday during advocacy visit to the Bauchi State Ministry
for Religious Affairs in Bauchi.

She condemned the activities of beggars who deny school age girls from getting education.

According to her, FOMWAN in the recent past introduced non-formal classes for such girls but failed due to the outcry of poverty by some parents.

She added that “these girls are mostly not their relations according to our investigation, they are paid on daily basis by the beggars to lead their begging activities.”

Kilishi noted that such act could expose the girls to hazards and abuses on the streets.

She said that the girls were spotted on major streets within the state metropolis holding beggars’ hand to ask for money from motorists and passersby.

In his response, the Chairman SUBEB, Alhaji Abubakar Dahiru, promised that the board would channel the association’s request to the relevant authorities.

He encouraged the girls to study relevant courses that would impact their lives.

The Bauchi State Commissioner for Religious Affairs and Social Welfare, Alhaji Ahmad Jalam, also commended the efforts of the association toward addressing such menace.

The National President, National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) Mrs Gloria Shoda, also on Friday, urged
stakeholders to promote the rights of the girl-child in Nigeria.

Shoda made the call in a statement in Abuja to mark the 2019 International Day of the Girl-Child.

She said that any support to the girl-child would go a long way to change her destiny, especially orphaned girl-child by providing
for comprehensive care, including food, clothing, education and health care.

Shoda stressed the need to empower the girl-child through training and skill acquisition to help them become self reliant and live better lives.

Shoda advised the girl-child to pursue education with vigour to enable them to achieve success in the future. (NAN)

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