The Director General (DG), National Center for Women Development (NCWD) Mary Ekpere-Eta has stressed the need for adequate investment on the education of the girl child in the country.
Ekpere-Eta stated this in Abuja while briefing the media on the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) commemorated on the theme, “Girl Force: Unscripted and unstoppable” and “Empowering Girls for a brighter tomorrow.”
The DG expressed concerns over the continuous and rising cases of child marriage, adding that different forms of violence still exist even with the heightened advocacy.
“There is still much to be desired as Child Marriage still exist, there are daily occurrences of Gender Based Violence against the Girl Child, girls are still being used as sex slaves, girls are unable to complete their basic education due to insecurity and vulnerability of the family etc,” she said.
“However, investing in education of girls and ensuring they remain in school is still the best option, as it will enable the girls to reach their dreams and better their livelihood.
“In these rapidly changing world, girls who miss out of foundational education and life skills will be more vulnerable in the future; this will worsen inequality and re-echo poverty for generations to come. Thus all hands must be on deck to break existing barriers to Girl Child Education in Nigeria,” she said.
She described this year’s theme as apt, saying it is targeted at building self-consciousness, empowering girls with knowledge, exposure and skills to create a movement of girls who are a force to reckon with and determined to make change in their lives.
“The theme also resonates efforts by the NCWD to empower and strengthen the girl child agenda towards gender equality and sustainable national development,” she said.
The DG further stated that, this year’s celebration came on the heels of the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing+25 saying, it is important to take stock of how far the girl child has come since 1995.
“In the last 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action and its option protocols were ratified by Nigeria, much has been achieved with regards to the Girl Child.
“In today’s world girls are pushing barriers and challenges that hitherto hindered their progress in life. I have seen girls breaking barriers that go beyond the capabilities of any person, fighting for inclusion in development from all fronts of life through girls movements such as the Girls force and Girl4Girls in Nigeria to raise their voices to stop child marriage, promote self-esteem, girls education and for them to remain in school, learning life skills and standing for their rights to achieve their life dreams,” she noted
The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world. From 2012, various themes have been developed to guide the celebration.
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on October 11th. It is a day set aside by the United Nations for promoting the rights of girls and addressing the unique and various challenges they face.