Girl Child Day: Our girls are endangered – NAWE boss cries out

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By Kingsley Chukwuka

The Nigeria Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE), has said the girl child in Nigeria have become an endangered species owing to the fact that they are constantly abused, kidnapped and raped.

This was as the group also laments that there is nothing to celebrate as the country ranks bottom six globally in child welfare, and bottom 10 for girls flourishing, an index that is worrisome owing to the fact that the girl child in Nigeria have no protection from government.

President of the Group, Barrister Vera Ndanusa, said this, Wednesday, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-Child (IDGC).

Ndanusa said, “the Nigerian girl child is seriously endangered and under threat. Available statistics show that Nigeria has over 23 million female children and less than half of this number have access to education or basic things of life.

“Before we address this year’s theme of Digital Generation, Our Generation, we must first address these fundamental issues before talking about any digitilisation.

“About 14 million children are out of school according to UNESCO, and of this number, over 60 per cent are girls. In the northern part of the country, just about 20 per cent of girls have access to education and can read or write. They have either never been to school or dropped out very early.

“When COVID-19 hit last year, the numbers got worse and the implication is that it is affecting our human and national development. When girls are educated, it would reduce teenage pregnancy, helps them become more self-reliant and committed to the nation’s progress.

“When girls are denied education, you are denying roughly half of the nation’s population from being emancipated and preventing progress. Until we generate public will, we cannot generate political will to force our leaders to do the right thing.”

Continuing, she said: “This day calls for sober reflection because looking at the state of our education and health, it is in dire emergency. The Nigerian girl child is dealing with a plethora of issues and till today, many girls still struggle with sanitary health, zero access to sanitary hygiene and products, and miss school due to this as well as lack of toilets.

“As we speak, girls that get pregnant are still being expelled from school and according to the Child Rights Act (CRA), this shouldn’t be so. The inequality girls suffer is too much. As an organisation, we identified the following – poverty, gender-based violence, sexual and physical abuse, neglect and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – as stumbling blocks.

“Before we move to digitalise Nigerian girls, we must first tackle these obstacles that hinder their progress. As the world advances digitally, Nigerian girls are completely left behind and the only way to bridge this gap is to first understand the implications of this neglect and what it portends,” Ndanusa said.

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