How I Plan To Tackle Girl-Child Education If I’m Elected President – Ezekwesili

 

The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Obiageli Ekekwesili, says getting girls in school must be a priority for every nation, especially one like Nigeria which she says, is still “struggling with development”.

She said this during the NEDG/BON presidential debate on Saturday while stating her four-point agenda on tackling the problem of girl-child education in the country.

The ACPN candidate, who is also a former Minister of Education believes that a nation that “educates the girl-child has a higher track to progress and development”.

Nigeria’s education sector and specifically, education of the girl-child has suffered a setback in recent years.

With the insurgency in the North East and abduction of schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014 and Dapchi in 2018 respectively, many parents in the region have over time become skeptical of the idea of sending their children to school.

Ezekwesili, however, promises to rekindle the drive towards educating the girl child if she’s elected into office.

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One of the ways she intends to do so, according to her, is through incentivization of the parents, as well as the girls.

She said, “The number one thing that matters for girls in school is to give an incentive to their families to send them to school because barriers that keep girls away from school are social, cultural, economic and each of those have policy solutions to tackle them and we will use those tools.

“The second thing is to give incentives for the girls to want to go to school.

“Part of the way to do that is role modeling and so female teachers go a long way in making girls want to achieve more.

“We would also focus on the productivity on the parents of the girls because we have found that when women are economically empowered, they spend 70% of their income on the education of their children”.

The ACPN candidate emphasized that educating the girl-child is not just for ‘her’ benefit but for the overall good of the nation.

She said, “The fourth thing that we would like to do is to show to the Nigerian people that economic empowerment of women is simply smart economics.

“It enables the entire society to benefit. It is not the girl child that benefits from access to education, it is actually the community, the family and the nation”.

Borno Govt To Prosecute Parents Involved In Child Marriage – Shettima

 

The Borno State Government has said that underage marriage of female children has now become a punishable crime in the state and that any parent found guilty will be prosecuted.

The state governor, Mr Kashim Shettima gave the warning on Wednesday while addressing parents whose children are beneficiaries of the free basic education introduced by his government.

The government also presented parents with incentives which included food items and wears, as part of efforts to encourage them to send their female children to school rather than selling them off to marriage.

 

Fulani Parents

Shettima said: “Allow them to finish secondary school; irrespective of all the assistance and hospitality we offer you, whoever marries out his 12-year-old daughter would be prosecuted.

 

“We as parents must help them acquire western and religious education,” the governor stated.

The Fulani community comprises mostly displaced persons from the Lake Chad region seeking refuge in Maiduguri.

Prior to the free education initiative, many of the Fulani parents were opposed to western education.

However, they have now been made to understand and accept the benefits of education for their (female) children.

Nearly 600 Fulani children are now to benefit from the free education programme.

 

Some parents who spoke to Channels Television expressed gratitude to the governor for the initiative.

One of the parents, Amina Maina, said: “We are from Gudumbali, it’s because of the crisis that we came here, and we didn’t return. Since our children have now been enrolled in school we are not going anywhere until they finish school if God spares our life.”

Also according to the government, homes will also be provided for the displaced Fulanis.

100 houses are expected to be set aside for them from the homes built by Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote for victims of insurgency in the state.

VVF: Kano Govt. Advocates Improved Health Care For Girl Child

kano, Ganduje, Youth empowerment,In addition to improving health care facilities especially in rural areas, the Kano state government has revealed plans to eradicate the menace of VesicoVaginal Fistula (VVF).

The Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, expressed worry over the increase in number of reported VVF cases in the state.

While receiving a UN delegation on Population Fund Agency, he said his administration has so far trained over 1,000 traditional birth attendants who have been posted to various rural areas across the 44 local government areas of the state, to oversee issues relating to pregnancy in local areas of the state.

According to the governor, increasing population coupled with limited resources at the disposal of government agencies, have partly contributed to the disease becaming too hard to control especially in northern Nigeria.

“We are lucky to be the most populous nation in Nigeria but the results were an increas in health related issues which were perhaps associated to even the most productive populated communities of the world.

“This notwithstanding cannot deter us from doing what needs to be done to ensure the health of our mothers.”

Ganduje said in addition to various enlightenment programmes, government may form a legislation that would regulate early marriage in line with Islamic teaching.

“Because of the increasing number of liability population which is termed responsible for the increasing reported cases of VVF, we will have to provide a more justifiable framework in line with the religion of Islam. governor Ganduje said.

Meanwhile the Executive Director Of The United Nation Population Fund, Mr Babatunde Osetumehin, says that VVF has always been as a result of failed systems.

“A girl has to be marriage ready before she gives birth because when she gets pregnant without being ready, she ends up with fistula and that is what the UN population fund seeks to address in Nigeria especially in the north of the country”.

Osetumehin who told the governor that he was in Kano to graduate 25 survivors of VVF, also assured Ganduje that the UN would continue to collaborate with sister agencies and government institutions across the world to ensure that girl child education is given more priority at all levels.

“You want to eradicate VVF? You educate girl child, if you educate the girl child, I tell you, we will never record any incident of VVF in our country and this is a task we must do, a task we most honor and respect at all cost.”

The Minister of Women And Social Development Aisha Alhasan, however believes that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has since inception, paid a considerable amount of attention to women and children health related issues.

UNFPA Urges Nigeria To Invest In Girl Child Education

UNFPA, Girl Child EducationThe future of nations by the year 2030 may be determined by investment and support of 10-year-old girls today, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

To this end, the UNFPA is asking Nigeria to invest in girl child education to end issues of poverty, unemployment and attain the sustainable development goals.

For the UN body, all the ten-year-old girls living in developing countries, who do not currently attend school have the potential to add 21 billion dollars per year to the economies.

The Deputy Regional Director, UNFPA, Beatrice Mutali, underlined the dangers of giving out girls early in marriage without giving them the necessary education or skills.

The United Nations has continued its advocacy against early child marriage and child abuse across the globe.

Northern Governors Seek America’s Support In Region’s Development

John Kerry and northern Nigeria governors meetingGovernors of Nigeria’s northern states on Tuesday sought the support of the United States of America in areas of education, job creation and rehabilitation of the devastated northeast region.

The request was made at a meeting between the governors and the United States Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

After the meeting, Mr Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno State, one of the states hugely devastated by over six years Boko Haram insurgency, expressed appreciation to the United States for their concern about issues of insurgency and other security challenges in northern Nigeria

At the meeting held at the Presidential Villa were governors of Borno, Adamawa, Kwara, Bauchi, Sokoto and Zamfara States.

John Kerry at a meeting with Northern Nigeria governors
John Kerry assured governors of Nigeria’s northern states that the U.S. will support in addressing humanitarian crisis in the northeast

Governor Shettima told reporters that the governors also requested for support in the area of girl-child education, gender empowerment, strengthening of the healthcare sector and renewable energy for industrial take-off.

He said: “Power is the sine qua non for growth in any society”.

The visiting Secretary of State was also asked to support them in the fight against extreme poverty and the development of the agriculture and mining sectors.

The governors said that they were happy that America had shown deep commitment to the development of Nigeria.

World Bank’s $21m Grant To Boosts Girl Child Education In Kaduna

girlchildThe World Bank has committed the sum of $21 Million as grant to Kaduna State, in north-west Nigeria, to improve girl child education.

The grant was announced on Tuesday by the World Bank’s Senior Education Specialist, Dr. Olatunde Adekola, and it was provided under the Nigerian Partnership for Education Project.

At the inauguration of the project at the Government House in Kaduna, Dr. Adekola, said the grant was meant to support the education of children, especially those at the rural areas to have access to qualitative education.

He explained that the grant would be used for the training of teachers, renovation of schools, provision of teaching materials and offering scholarship to students.

In Nigeria, many children do not attend school because of the inability of their parents to afford the associated costs of fees, uniforms, textbooks and other expenses.

The girl child has been proven to be at a more disadvantaged position when it comes to going to school, and report has it that they have the highest percentage of out-of-school children in Nigeria.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who received the delegation, expressed concern at the deplorable state of education in the state and the north in general, saying that his administration had set up some intervention policies and programmes aimed at revamping the sector.

He commended the World Bank and other donor agencies for their financial support to the education sector.

High point of the event is the symbolic presentation of cheque to indigent pupils and teachers.

Apart from Kaduna, other states that are already benefiting from the World Bank grant include Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, and Sokoto.

According to a UNICEF report, 40 per cent of Nigerian children, aged 6-11, do not attend any primary school with the northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate, particularly for girls.

The project, which will last for four years, is expected to boost girl child education in those states.

Ezekwesili Advocates More Attention To Girl Child Education

girl childThe federal government has been advised to reprioritise its policy on girl child education to achieve the much needed development in the country.

The advice was given by a co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, at an event to mark the Global Week of Action for the abducted Chibok girls.

The event is part of the activities put together by the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners to mark the two years anniversary of the abduction of 219  schoolgirls in Chibok.

The activity looked at the nation’s endangered education system following the wave of abduction and killings of school children in the northeast by members of the Boko Haram sect.

Dr Ezekwesili was of the view that government at all levels must have a strategic plan of action to remove the impediments to the ‎education of girls in Nigeria.

There were also words of encouragement from members of the international community.

The Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, John Groffen and his Canadian counterpart, Perry Calderwood both expressed hope to see more enrolment of girls in school, backed by adequate security in the days ahead.

The consensus at the event was that education remains key to the socio economic development of any nation and investing in this key area should be the top priority on the minds of government and key players.

Sultan, UNICEF Urge Northern Governors To Promote Girl-child Education

International Day of the Girl Child.The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) have urged Governors of the 19 northern Nigerian states and parents to encourage girl-child education and eradicate the Almajiri syndrome.

They are of the opinion that the move will eradicate illiteracy and poverty in the region.

The Sultan and UNICEF Country Representatives made the call on Sunday in Kaduna at a one-day advocacy meeting with the Commissioners of Education and traditional rulers from the 19 northern states.

The meeting was organised by the Sultan Foundation For Peace and Development to mobilise advocacy and support for the programme.

In his speech, Mr Abubakar while urging the Governors of the northern states to work out a deliberate plan to promote girl-child education in the region, also explained that Almajiri and all forms of begging in the region were against the teachings of Islam.

He expressed worry that the alarming rate of young girls dropping out of school, if not addressed as soon as possible, would continue to militate against the socio-economic development of the region in particular and the country in general.

In her remarks, the UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough, noted that education remained the cornerstone of any development, which without it, no nation could achieve any meaningful development.

While she called on leaders of northern Nigeria to commit and take action to reduce the gap in girls’ enrollment and completion of basic education, she was optimistic that the meeting would also help to find solutions to challenges militating against equal access to education by the girl-child especially in the northeast where many children are out of school due to Boko Haram attacks.

The 2013 DHS education survey revealed that educational marginalisation in northern Nigeria is particularly pronounced among women.

According to the survey, about 69. 4 per cent of women in the north have no access to education at all when compared with the 5.5 per cent in the southern region.

Participants at the meeting believed that what was needed now was for the various State Governments in the region to develop a strategy of prioritising education, as an important way to tackle education deprivation for the girls.

Anambra Govt. Seeks Developmental Intervention From EU

Obiano-Anambr-euAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has appealed to the European Union (EU) Delegation Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), Michel Arrion, to bring intervention programmes to the state in the areas of girl child education, flood and power.

The appeal was made during the visit of the Ambassador to Anambra State, to seek out new areas of collaboration with the state government, as well as find out how the existing EU programmes in the state have been faring.

Governor Obiano noted that already, EU intervention programmes were on in two Local Government Areas and reported that they were thriving very well. He requested for its extension to other Local Government Areas.

The Ambassador on his part, announced the EU’s plan to undertake a five-year period programme in the state.

Mr Arrion also appealed to the state and the various communities where EU projects are located to take ownership of them for sustainability.

The Governor had on Wednesday mapped out 28 camps where Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will take refuge in the event of the impending flood announced by the government.

Child Rights: Govt Advised To Implement Existing Laws Not Create New

Child RightsThe Nigerian Government has been advised to pay more attention to implementing laws that protect the rights of children in the society, rather than creating new laws.

Erhumwunse Eghosa of the SOS Children’s Village, made this plea during a conversation on Rubbin Minds in commemoration of the International Day Of the Girl Child, where he noted that the issue of protecting the girl child needs to be put on the front burner internationally.

“If you want to develop a nation, or develop the world, you need to invest in the development of children, especially the girl child,” he said.

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.

“It is not just enough for us to pass beautiful laws and policies. What is utmost is how much we implement these laws and how much we encourage the right mechanism that will help us to ensure that these laws and policies are being implemented.”

The condition of the family backgrounds, he noted, is also an integral factor when talking about the rights of the girl child to education as there must be enabling environment for this to happen from the home front.

While Lagos State has taken the lead in protecting children in line with the law, many states are far behind as the Child Rights Act, he said, is still far behind in achieving its purpose because implementation has not been taken seriously.

Eghosa explained that when the focus of families is on trying to fight poverty, it would be hard for them to understand why their children should not engage in activities like hawking.

He advised that Government needs to appreciate the belief that implementing the Child Rights Act would require sensitizing families on why their children should not be on the streets irrespective of their needs.

He added that Government also must do more in creating economic empowerment for its citizens.

Moving forward, he recommended the creation of a database of all Nigerian citizens as this is the foundation of planning for a society. He added that communities should be encouraged to play major roles in making sure that child rights protection is enforced among the people.

Jonathan Meets Malala, Plans To Meet Chibok Parents

Malala-YousafzaiPresident Jonathan has directed his officials to make arrangements towards his meeting with parents of the Chibok girls who are passing through horrifying experience following the abduction of their children over three month ago by the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

This was the outcome of the meeting which President Jonathan held with Pakistani child rights activist, Malala Yousafzat, who was in the Presidential Villa on Monday.

Malala, who has been in Nigeria to join her voice in the condemnation of the abduction of  the Nigerian girls, as part of activities to mark her seventeen birthday, said that she was hopeful that the girls would be released soon as promised by the President.

She decried the statistics which puts the number of out-of-school girls at over 10.5 million, and urged the international community to assist Nigeria and Africa as a whole to send their children to school. She also called on governments across the continent to increase funding for education.

She also announced a donation of the sum of 200,000 dollars from her foundation, to support education in Nigeria.

Kano Emirate: Mohammed Sanusi Promises To Reform Institutions

Emir SanusiAs the fourteenth Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi, the second, finally settles into the palace, he is already taking stock of how he intends to make his impact felt positively.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television correspondent, Gbenga Ashiru, at his residence in Kano, the Emir discussed the challenge of threat to peace and stability in the North.

Alhaji Sanusi said that his focus would be on institutional reforms, including the promotion of girl child education, adult literacy, primary health care, and reducing unemployment.

He said, “You know the ambition of every prince is to succeed to the throne of their forefathers and we are grateful to Allah that he has chosen us for the role at this point in time and we pray that we are given the wisdom to carry out the responsibilities that the burden placed on our shoulders entail.”

On the challenges he envisages as he steps into the shoes of his ancestors, the Emir noted that first among these was the challenge of stepping into the shoes of the late Emir, Ado Bayero, whom he referred to as a great man who had led the city for 51 years, having been the Emir of Kano since 3 years after Nigeria’s independence.

The new Emir also noted that stepping unto the throne at a time when there were security challenges in the North, there was need to reform the institution and improve its role and focus on major areas of the economy as these were the foundation for peace and security.

He expressed hope that his experience as a banker and economist would help in this direction.

“It’s always about improving the level of engagement with Government at the state, local and federal levels, ensuring that the benefits that should accrue to the people come, giving advice and encouraging the people to embrace initiatives that would help improve their lot”, he said.