The Minister of State in the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has pledged the commitment of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to create an enabling environment for the girl child to thrive.
The Minister made this pledge during an event organised by the Founder of Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja in collaboration with Make A Difference for the Needy Foundation as part of activities to commemorate the 2019 International Day for the Girl Child.
Speaking on the theme; “Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow”, the Minister stressed the need for government at all levels to come up with policies and programmes that would encourage the girl child to realise her potential in society.
Aliyu, who identified mentorship as key to growth and development of the girl child, also called on parents especially mothers to always monitor the emotional growth of the girl child, noting that mothers are closer to the girl child.
According to her, “FCT Administration has already taken the bold step of increasing the enrolment rate of girl child in schools. As it is, we are almost recording 50/50 participation rate in schools.
“The girl child is given a large space and encouraged to realise her potential. We are going a step further through sensitisation and getting them to know that they are special. Packages will soon come and everyone will know that the girl child is in the heart of the FCT Minister.
“The girl child has suffered all kinds of oppression from tradition, to religion and the belief that the girl child should not be heard, for she is a weaker sex. It is important for the girl child to realize your potential and this can only be done through mentoring.
“Mentorship and mentoring is fundamental to the development of the girl child, starting from parenting to successful women in all endeavours of life. The girls must be taught by their parents to identify a role model from their teachers or neighbourhoods.”
She urged the girls to seek out role models in their society and not necessarily public figures they may not have access to, stressing that every woman is special so “there must be one mentor in your neighbourhood.”
Earlier, the President of Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, said the event was aimed at amplifying the voices of the girl child and to ensure that they stand for their rights, adding that in nearly 25 years of Beijing Declaration, the girl child has moved from dreaming to achieving.
“More girls today are attending and completing school, fewer are getting married or becoming mothers while still children, and more are gaining the skills they need to excel in the future world or work.
“Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities,” she affirmed.
Speaking in the same vein, the Founder of Make A Difference for the Needy Foundation, Mrs. Maria Ogbonnaya-Ngwu, maintained that the essence of the programme was borne out of the believe that every girl has the potential to transform her life regardless of her background and also teach them to be confident to push on and pursue their dreams in any field of endeavour.
Ogbonnaya-Ngwu said, “Educate a girl child, you educate a nation, and empower a girl child for a brighter tomorrow”.
The highpoint of the event was a novelty football match between Girls Parliament versus Public School Girls aimed at showcasing the strength of the girl child.