The Niger state government on Thursday called for support for the girl child to ensure equal opportunity for them.
Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education made the call in Minna during a mentoring session organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for senior secondary school girls in Minna.
The mentoring session was part of activities to mark the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrated annually on March 8.
“On this IWD lets make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact on all. Therefore lets support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone,” he said.
Aliyu said that gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.
He advised that the country must re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global trust solidarity to reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all.
Earlier, Mr Kolawole Babatunde, the state Programme Coordinator, UNICEF said that nine states; Bauchi, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Yobe and Borno were identified among educationally disadvantaged states in the country, especially in enrollment of the girl child into school.
Babatunde said that there was need to encourage the girl child education in order to bridge the gap between the girls and their male counterparts.
Similarly, Hajiya Mariam Usman, UNICEF consultant, said that there was need for women and girls to know their right in the society, hence the IWD celebration.
Usman urged the students to be focused in school toward attracting positive change to the development of the girl child.
She said that the IWD was set aside to recognise women and their contributions to the development of the society.
The UNICEF Consultant said that some of the activities to mark the celebration include advocacy visit to the State Assembly with primary school pupils, mentoring session for senior secondary school girls and dialogue with High Level Women Advocates (HiLWA) in the state.
She said that this year’s event tagged “Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovative Change” has 10 students each representing 10 schools in Minna.
Also, Hajiya Hassana Adamu, the state chairperson, HiLWA said that the group was collaborating with UNICEF and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to promote the girl child education in the state.
Miss Fatima Sani, one of the participants from Government Day Science College, Minna told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme has exposed them to develop self confidence in their academic pursuit.
Sani said that the programme has made them to understand that the girl child can aspire to be in any profession in life.
NAN reports that the students were counseled on how to excel in various profession. (NAN)