NGO sensitises Abaji communities on girl-child education

A non-governmental organisation, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), has taken its campaign to Abaji area council in the FCT, advocating for the girl-child education as a panacea to halting child-marriage in the area.

Chairman, Abaji area council, Mr Abdulrahman Ajiya Wednesday stressed the need for stakeholders to educate the girl-child in their various communities.

The campaign was themed, “Education before marriage”.

Ajiya, who was represented by Head of Department, Education, in the council, Mr Noma Sheshi, said the country would only move forward and free from social vices if residents were educated.

He said that religious and cultural beliefs that hinder access to education should be avoided, noting that traditional and religious leaders are essential in the fight.

“There is what we call negative cultural practices that hinder us to access this western education. In this 21st century where education has turned digital with ICT, the society is moving very fast.

“Those of us who have found ourselves in the Federal Capital Territory are still shying away from western education.

“It is sad to discover that instead of sending our children to school, we send them hawking and give them out to marriage at tender age.

“At the age of eight, a child is given for marriage. Some of them even access this secondary school and primary school but they don’t stay till the end,” he said.

Ajiya said to foster development associated with education, there is need for collective responsibilities to educate the young ones in the society.

“You are being educated; it is your responsibility to educate the young ones so that they too can take over the leadership of the community.”

He therefore, pledged to ensure that all stakeholders in the council join hands to ensure that children remain in school as well as complete their education.

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, AAN, Mrs Geraldine Onyeka, said child-marriage had a lot of implications that if not tackled, would negatively impact the economy.

“We are trying to sensitise the people on ending child-marriage knowing that child-marriage has so many implications both on the economy, family and so many other health issues.

“So, the essence of this is that if we encourage more of education, we see it as a way to also promote or bring up the age at which these people go for marriage. Telling the girls alone is not enough to solve this problem.

“So we are also looking at other people that are stakeholders, talking about parents, religious leaders, community leaders to join in this campaign to encourage female children to go to school,” she said.

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