As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s international day of the girl child, Oxfam in Nigeria and the Ekiti State first Lady have called for the promotion and sustenance of the rights of girls in Nigeria.
They made the call on Tuesday during a webinar organised by Oxfam to mark the day.
This is as the First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, lamented that state governments were not implementing the Child Rights Act 2003, saying that no sustainable future can be contemplated without considering the future of the girl child in the country.
The Country Directorz Oxfam in Nigeria, Mr. Constant Tchona, called for a radical social and political change that will lead to the eradication of discrimination and prejudice that continue to hold the girls back in all areas of life.
According to him, there is the need to make case for Nigerian women and girls who have been faced with so many issues ranging from, rape, female genital mutilation, gender based violence, marginalisation, early marriage among others.
Tchona said that the world would be a better place if the female genders are as happy as their male counterparts.
The virtual meeting was themed, “My Voice, Our Equal Future” and was focused on young and adolescent girls and also encourages young generation of activists to accelerate social change.
“The theme is meant to reinforce the message around challenging gender stereotypes, fighting bias, broadening perceptions, improving women and girl’s participation at all levels of the economy and celebrating the achievements of women and girls.
“This year’s event will celebrate change makers of all ages & genders and discuss how they can collectively tackle the unfinished business of empowering all women and girls in the years to come.
“The observance of the International Day of the Girl Child aims to bring together the next generation of young girl leaders and gender equality activists, women rights advocates and visionaries who will will be instrumental in creating the much needed change in promoting the rights of women and girls,” Tchona said.
Delivering the keynote, titled ‘My Voice, our equal future’ the wife of the Ekiti State governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, called for the prioritisation of girls education stressing that statistics by United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF indicated that 60% of the over 13 million out of school children are girls.
She also reiterated that pregnant girls be allowed to stay in school because the male counterpart who impregnated them are in school.
According to her, communities have major role to play in addressing issues that affects girls especially under patriarchal beliefs and social norms with sensitisation and awareness campaign a key.
She said that mothers must be empowered in order to raise the boys that will respect themselves and the girl child.
She also urged the private sector, development partners and corporate bodies to come out and support the next generation for national development.