“Girls’ education, women’s empowerment is essential to society” | The Guardian Nigeria News

Residents of Cross River State have called on the federal government to make education compulsory for the country’s poor and needy, especially girls. According to them, this will reduce harmful practices against children in society. They also said that empowering women would further improve not only their lives, but also those of their children and the nation as a whole.

This advocacy is part of the Day of the African Child celebrated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the theme “Eliminating harmful practices affecting children: progress in policies and practices since 2013 “. The day has been commemorated annually since 1991, when it was first launched by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to honor those who took part in the uprising in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976 .

This is why civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world are advocating for children’s rights by seeking attention on good education, ending early marriage, genital mutilation and child labour, among others.

Speaking to The Guardian, on preventing harmful practices on girls, a resident and principal of the public primary school in Ekorinim, Calabar, Asuquo Nse Okon noted that access to education would enable her to take care for herself, to be well informed and to avoid the evils that could befall her.

“Another way to prevent it is to empower women; we are in a political era, women should be given the opportunity to take on leadership roles, the ultimate solution is to send children to school and make education compulsory for the poor, the needy and even the older people, because they can take adult education and learn how to read and write.

She further added that female genital mutilation should be eliminated completely to avoid the dangers and health problems it brings to girls. “Those who are educated know the adverse effects on girls, which is why education is key to solving this threat.

“Men’s education is also very important. If men are educated, they won’t do it to their children. If you see in our society today, educated parents don’t send their children to go peddling. Exposing these children to peddling can cause harm in these times when kidnappings are rampant.

As a parent, Mr. Edim Ita said that the street children commonly known as Skolombo are the result of underserved people who have too many children than they can care for, hence the government supports these children. “The government should help them learn a skill, like the Calabar garment factory set up by the state government, some of them can be sent there.”

Mara R. Wilmoth