International Day of Girl Child: Atiku seeks specialised policies, Bayelsa lawyers worried over rape, violence

Former Vice President of Nigeria and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, has called on the government of Nigeria to actively initiate policies that would empower the country’s young girls to grow up believing that they can do and become anything they imagine.

In a statement released Wednesday in Abuja to mark this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, Atiku described Nigeria’s population of young girls as an army of problem-solvers waiting to be unleashed, if only they could be given equal access to quality education.

“Bear in mind that when we educate the girl child, we educate a family, educate a community and eventually end up educating a nation,” he said.

“Until we prioritise the education of the girl child, there will continue to be a limit on how far and well we can develop as a nation in the 21st century.”

The Waziri Adamawa noted that the days are long gone when all that a girl was groomed to become was a beautiful bride who would one day satisfy a man by keeping house and kitchen, emphasising that Nigeria’s girls should be empowered to function in all spheres of human endeavour.

Meanwhile, Women Lawyers from Bayelsa State has expressed concern over the rising cases of sexual and physical violence against the girl child in the state, saying thirteen out of twenty children are violated in the state.

The Women Lawyers under the aegis of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) stated that the  ‎escalating rate of violence against the girl-child is worrisome and debasing.

The Chairperson of FIDA, Barr. Dise Ogbise-Erhisere, in a solidarity message issued in Yenagoa to commemorate the International day of the Girl Child, stated that the record showed that on a weekly basis Seven out of 10 girls are violated domestically while sexually, 6 out of 10 girls are violated.

According to her, “The last one year has seen the level of the girl-child been treated negatively against our cultural norms and belief system. The escalating rate of violence against the girl-child is worrisome and debasing. Sadly, our record shows that on a weekly basis 7 out of 10 girls are violated domestically while sexually 6 out of 10 girls are violated.”

“These are very high statistics that shows the dehumanizing attitude of some persons towards the psychological and social development of the average girl.  However, in our search for the remote causes of this high indices, is lack of education in most cases.”

“Therefore, this year’s theme: The power of the Adolescence: Vision 2030 is a call to increase the capacity of the adolescent Ijaw girl to gain access to adequate health, education and justice. A call for a hard-hitting strategies by government at all level as well as private organizations to empower the girl-child through education.”

“Educating the girl-child is a secured future. Educating the girl-child is a preventive mechanism against all forms of violence. Educating the girl-child guarantees power against any form of aggression from society.”

“In FIDA Bayelsa, we pledge our commitment to carry out more awareness and sensitization programme as well as advocacy campaigns to key government officials on the education of the adolescence girl.”

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