Lawal Aliya, a student of one of the secondary schools in Abuja said, every girlchild has a part to play in life and she must be invested in the area of her education and training so that she also can contribute her quota not only to her family but to national development and to the world at large.
Aliya, while speaking at the celebration of the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child with the theme, ‘Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable – Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow’, urged all parents to try all they could to encourage female education no matter how hard, adding that nothing can stop a girl from achieving her goal if she is given the necessary support.
“As a girl, I am very important and an integral part of the society. We want the world to know that we have as much right as the boys to participate in whatever will help develop our country. We look forward to a time when a woman will become the president of this country but it starts from how much support we can get from everyone.”
Another girl, Evelyn Arinze, an SSS3 student of Government Secondary School, Pyakasa, Abuja said, girls when given the opportunity excel in their endeavours.
She called on Nigerian parents, relatives and guardians across the nation to allow their girl-child to explore every opportunity available just like their male counterparts, adding that in the past, girls were never appreciated by parents or even relatives but now, “I am so glad that the opportunities given to my siblings who are boys are also given to me by my parents.”
Kemi Babalola, one of the representatives of the girls, said she was very happy with the awareness campaign, adding that with it more girls will be enrolled in the school, especially in the rural areas.
She pleaded with the Federal Government to put an end to the rampart cases of abuse, “as the girl child is no longer safe even in the hands of relatives.”
The trio were among 147 girls drawn from different states and trained on life skills and other empowerment programmes organized by the United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF), National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) and other organisations as part of events to mark the 2019 International Day of the GirlChild and to seek ways to improve the life of the girl child in developing countries, like Nigeria.
The day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights across the world.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in his message to celebrate the girl child across the world for 2019 said, “we need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations,” adding that girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life.
UNICEF Country Representative to Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, at the occasion, also said that development partners are committed to assisting the government to provide quality education for children.
The Director-General of NCWD, Mary Ekpere-Eta, said educating the girl-child positions her strongly for a good future and a productive life, adding that Nigerian women, through their many successes, have proven that investing in the education of girls come with immeasurable gains.