THE United Nations (UN) is partnering with the federal government in its bid to end early marriages and harmful traditional practices against the girl child.
It said it has seen across the world that for a country to realise its full potential, it has to invest in the girl child.
In order to achieve this, the UN intends to work with leaders and traditional leaders to ensure that changes happen not just in Nigeria but across Africa.
The UN Country Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, said this at the Girl Child Concerns One Million Girls’ March for free and compulsory Secondary Education for all girls, held in Abuja.
She said, “The UN is actually doing a lot here in Nigeria; we are just about to partner with the ministry and other partners on a big program; the ‘spotlight initiatives’, which is really looking at how we can support States and different organisations to address the issue of early marriage and harmful traditional practices because we have seen across the world and for a country to realise its full development potential, it has to invest in the girl child.
“What we are doing to support the ministry and Nigeria in general is through the spotlight initiatives, the program will enable us work with leaders, traditional leaders and we are seeing changes happening not just in Nigeria but across Africa. Where the traditional leaders are coming together and actually supporting the efforts to keep girls in school and to address harmful traditional practices because if we don’t do that we cannot realise the full potential of the country,” she said.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, who took part in the march, urged Nigerians to support the fight of ensuring free and compulsory education for all girls across the nation.
She said ,”I am sure you are all aware that today is the international day of the girl child worldwide and Nigeria is out here with this girls to make a statement that we want free and compulsory education for the girl child at all level from primary up to the senior secondary school.
“We are here to condemn early marriage, violence against women, to ensure and to cry out to all Nigerians and to appeal that all Nigerians should support the girl child to ensure that we have free and compulsory education for the girl. Government is fully committed to this course under the able leadership of President Muhammad Buhari and we are now out here with the girls to make a statement and to appeal to all religious and traditional leaders, parents, community leaders to back up this great campaign to ensure that the girl child is given a space to be educate.”