The African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) has appealed to parents in northern Nigeria not to withdraw their girl-child from schools despite the rising cases of school kidnappings in the region.
The Special Assistant to the President on AFLPM, Dr Mairo Al-Makura, made the appeal in Abuja at an occasion to commemorate International Women’s Day.
Al-Makura said the mission will do all it could to encourage parents to ensure that all girl-child return to school to continue their education, noting that the rate of girls’ enrollment and retention in school was still low.
She said: “Not allowing them [girls] to come back to school would have a negative impact on the quest to raise the level of education in the north.
“Although, the attack and kidnapping of schoolgirls in the north were discouraging the fear of the parents not to allow their kids back to school will be counter-productive as the aim of the criminals would have been achieved.”
Pandemic, a threat
The wife of former Nasarawa State Governor, however, noted that the tremendous progress on women’s right and leadership achieved over the last few years was being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “Although we have seen tremendous progress on women’s rights and leadership over the last few years, the pandemic is threatening to reverse the gains that have been made.
“The pandemic has disproportionally impacted women in many areas, particularly gender-based violence.
“While the world implemented lockdown measures introduced to curb the pandemic, there has been a spike in reported domestic violence and conflict-related violence against women and girls.
“To ensure that the COVID-19 response and recovery acknowledge their realities, women need to have a seat at the decision-making table.
“The African First Ladies Peace Mission celebrates African women who continuously play a crucial role in furthering peace on the continent.
“We must not lose sight that gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to the continent’s progress on peace, security and human rights.
“We recommit ourselves to advocate for the right to peace and protection for all women and girls across Africa.”
“The development of Africa cannot be achieved without women’s efforts and contributions.
“On this International Women’s Day, let’s empower and encourage African women and girls to ensure their participation in all decision-making levels.”