The future of the North will be determined by how they teach their girls today, United Nations Women Country Representative to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ms Comfort Lamptey has said.
According to Ms Lamptey, girls’ education is pivotal to the overall development of the country.
She spoke at a media engagement as part of activities commemorating the 2020 International Day of the Girl-Child, which was adopted on December 19, 2011, by the United Nations General Assembly and celebrated October 11th every year.
“If girls spent more time in schools, it will ensure marriage is delayed and ultimately, the population is controlled; when we ensure the rights of girls, we are creating a better world for both genders.
“My voice, our equal future” is the theme of 2020 International Day of the Girl-Child, which according to Lamptey, is to ensure full opportunity for girls and a right to make a choice.
The rights of girls in peace-building, especially in the Northeast is very crucial.
“More than over half of the girls in both the North East and the North West of Nigeria are forcefully married, which contributes to the unhealthy population in that region of the country,” she said.
On the rising cases of rape and sexual abuse, Lamptey lamented the horrendous figures and the unabated rise in rape and sexual abuse against girls and women.
According to the United Nations (UN), the world is home to more than 1.1 billion girls under the age of 18, who are poised to be change-makers, female leaders and policy-influencers.
“The Female Genital Mutilation is on the rise in Cameroon due to the deadly socio-cultural beliefs of the people. It is important, therefore, to work with religious and traditional rulers in order to promote advocacy and community engagement on the need to dismantle some social cultural beliefs in Africa,” she added.
Corroborating Lamptey, Nigeria’s foremost data research and analytics organisation, Dataphyte, said 66 per cent of Nigerian female have no decision-making power in marriage, adding that the situation calls for sober reflection and policy change.
Details on key health and welfare issues such as socio-economic emancipation of women, knowledge and access to key health information such like family planning methods and child feeding practices among other salient gender matters, the report stated.
The report, however, highlights prominent concerns bordering on sustainable development goals five and eight of the UN.
Dataphyte also surveyed the development outcomes relating to women and girls in Nigeria, which is typically defined by recurrent inadequacy in access to critical health services, basic education and economic empowerment opportunities.
An upsurge was observed of the incidence of sexual and gender-based violence. The survey response shows that while there are institutions established to give aid to victims, stigma and discrimination surrounding sexual and domestic violence make them reluctant to seek justice in the court or even report the incidents.