The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has urged the Federal Government to provide free and compulsory education from primary to secondary school for every girl child in the country and stop early marriage.
She made the call in the one million girls match for free and compulsory quality education for all girls in commemoration of the international day of girl child on Friday in Abuja.
Tallen condemned all forms of violence against women, early marriage, and appealed to all Nigerians to support the girl child to achieve their potential.
She said that the government is fully committed under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the rights of every girl child.
Tallen also appealed to all religious and traditional leaders, parents and community leaders among other stakeholders to support this great campaign to ensure that the girl child is educated and protected.
The minister said within the inter-ministerial committees they are trying to get different strategies to encourage the girl child to access education.
According to her, the ministries of education and sports are fully involved in the project and are committed.
Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Country Representative to Nigeria, said UN is doing a lot and here in Nigeria with the spotlight initiatives on how to address issue of early marriage and harmful traditional practices.
“For a country to realise its full development potential, we have to invest in the girl and we are supporting the ministry and Nigeria in general through the spotlight initiatives.
“That programme enables us to work with leaders, work with traditional leaders and we are seeing changes happening not just in Nigeria but across Africa,” she said.
Lamptey said for the country to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it must give priority to education of the girl child.
“When these girls grow up to be mothers, they will also bring up healthier children,” she said.
She said that educating girl child is good at all levels and it is her right; as country is part of the community of nations that signed all international agreements to ensure that we give equal opportunities to boys and girls.
“International day for girl child is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of what we are committing to and make sure that we contribute in our own small ways,” she said.
Lamptey advised the country to invest in the girl child, so that they can build a better future for the country.
Dr Mairo Mandara, the organiser of Keeping Girl in School Initiative (KGIS), said relevant market skills should be taught and introduced in schools.
She said it would make the girl child employable after secondary school because not all of them will go to tertiary institution.
Mandara said that the girls are asking for free and compulsory secondary school education, they are tired of anything else other than being students until they finished secondary school.
She commended the president, minister, UN and other stakeholders for helping the girl child.
Mandara said that the campaign was happening in twelve other states: Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Adamawa and among others. (NAN)
Edited by Felix Ajide