The Federal government says it has initiated programmes that will enhance the welfare of young children especially the girls and protect them from any form of molestation.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan disclosed this on Tuesday during a news conference to mark the 2016 International Day of the Girl Child.
Senator Alhassan said the ministry has embarked on advocacy visits and campaigns for the domestication of the Child Rights Act in all the states of the federation.
She also announced that the ministry has sponsored a bill on Gender and Equal Opportunities at the the National Assembly as well as the launching of the Social Protection Programme to assist indigent children to go to school.
The International Day of the Girl Child is a day set aside to draw attention of policy makers on the need to address the challenges girls face.
Nigeria being a member of the United Nations, joined other countries of the world to mark the day which called for creation of more opportunities for girls and raises awareness of the discrimination they face worldwide due to their gender.
The Women Affairs minister who identified age-longed prejudices and cultural stereotypes that are unfavourable to the girl child , added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is determined to ensure that women take their rightful place in the scheme of affairs in the country.
She reiterated the President’s resolve to ensure the safe return of the abducted Chibok school girls in Borno State.
In line with the theme – “Girls Progress equal to Goals Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement – the minister said attention would be directed to increased data generation and management in planning for the girl child and women in Nigeria.
‘Implement Existing Laws’
Meanwhile some stakeholders have faulted the introduction of new policies and programmes to protect the rights of the girl child. They say why create new policies when existing ones are yet to be fully implemented.
Erhumwunse Eghosa of the SOS Children’s Village, Lagos, said the Nigerian Government should pay more attention to implementing laws that protect the rights of children in the society, rather than creating new laws.
He explained that by empowering the girl child, 40% of the job of development would have been done, considering their roles in all facets of development, starting from their roles in raising kids.
He highlighted the need to provide social protection, employment, healthcare and education, with emphasis on the implementation of the laws that would ensure that all these are provided.