Abuse and Disrespect for Girl Child must be Eliminated – Helen Nchedo Ibeji
The International day of the girl child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations in 2011. And on the 19th December of same year, the United Nation General Assembly adopted resolution 66/170 to declare the 11th October of every year as an International Day of the Girl Child.
The International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation (ICI-GWODEF) joins the rest of the world in marking the 7th commemoration of this historic day, as well as celebrating the seventh year of ICI-GWODEF as an NGO.
According to Newswire’s correspondent at the event, the Convener who is also the President of ICI-GWODEF, Barr. Mrs. Helen Nchedo Ibeji, said, the general theme declared by the United Nation for the year 2018 commemoration; ‘Empower Girls: Before, During and After Conflict’ is coming at a time the Nigerian girls’ are in dare need of the immediate intervention of the government.
Ibeji said, “This is the time girl child need empowerment. It could be information, financial, economic or even spiritual empowerment. But for whatever reason, the girls must be informed at first.”
She said, “A well informed mother is a well-informed nation. For vision 2030 to be achieved, Nigeria must start with ‘Girl Child Information Empowerment’. And if the country must achieve sustainable development goals, we must start with our women and girls and every other thing will fall in place.”
“Mrs. Ibeji calls on the Federal Government to do whatever they can do to help the girl child in her life. Security of the girl child is paramount, and it’s the duty of government to maintain peace in the country and also ensure that all laws protecting women especially the girl child are implemented. People in authority should set apparatus to monitor those hindrances confronting Nigerian girls on a daily basis by being in the forefront in providing every necessary information the girl child need as they grow up.”
“We must therefore encourage the girls to come out from their shells to make meaningful contributions to the development of the Nigerian society. Our society must ensure that those barriers the girl child faces, in the form of violence, both public and private, harmful traditional practices, and discrimination amongst others are totally eradicated,” she concluded.
In the event of war and conflict, women and girls suffer more. The case of Miss Leah Sharibu is staring on our faces today. She is one of the abducted school girls from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe state on the 19th of February, 2018 by Boko Haram terrorists. As we speak this girl child is still in captivity. The International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation (ICI-GWODEF) use this opportunity to call President Mohammadu Buhari to hasten steps in bringing back Miss Leah and unite her with her family.
ICI-GWODEF use the commemoration of the girl child day to notify the government to facilitate the release of Sharibu before the end of the year else they shall have no choice than to file a legal action against the government.
And for the girl child, “Distortion must surely come, but the girl child must remain focused and be determined.” One of the invited guest speakers at the commemoration, Barr. Ify Uzokwe said as a mother, I always encourage parents, “let us bring up our children in the way of the Lord. Teach them those things they should know. Don’t allow them to learn from the outside world because most time it doesn’t go the right way. Let them learn from home so that they will exhibit that which they were thought.”
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Chief (Mrs.) Omotayo Oduntan, said, “Failure or limitations of any form cannot have control over the achievement of any girl child in this modern world. I encourage you as a mother, especially as a growing up girls to come out from your shells and make significant contributions to the development of our society.”
“Hon. Oduntan called on well meaning Nigerians and parents to ensure that those barriers the girl child faces in violence practices and discrimination by their male counterparts both in the private and public sectors must be eradicated.”
In her word of encouragement to the girls from different schools present at the event, the President, African Women Lawyers Association of Nigeria (AWLA), Mandy Ego Asagba, challenged them (the girls) to take education as their number one priority. This will enable them to better their lives in the near future and combat the inequality faced by the girl child based on their gender.
Mrs. Latifat Salau, Lagos State Coordinator, Legal Aid Council, said, “For the country to achieve better society that would compete with the rest of the world, we must start with the development and empowerment of the girl child and women. The Lagos State Legal Aid Council is out with stronger law to protect all form of violation against women and girl child in the state. She calls on parents and stakeholders to ensure that our girls are well empowered before, during and after any crisis or conflict.
The International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation (ICI-GWODEF) called on parents and the government to create time for the girls, nurture them, educate them, treat them with respect and correct them within the confines of the law. “Our campaign is that all forms of abuse and disrespect for the girl child must be reduced or be totally eliminated.
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