Senate seeks better protection for girl child

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja


The Nigerian Senate has tasked the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), to present clear operational strategies that will help to rescue the remaining Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls within two weeks.

Senate’s resolution on the missing girls, followed a motion titled; “2018 International Women’s Day with the theme: Press for Progress Now” sponsored by Senator Binta Masi-Garba and cosponsored by eight others, but read by Senator Biodun Olujimi.

It therefore mandated its Committees on Police Affairs; Security and Intelligence to invite the top security chiefs for investigation on the kidnapping of school girls.

Leading debate on the motion, Senator Olujimi, who is the Deputy minority whip, noted that March 8, is the International Women’s Day, a day that honour the achievements and calls attention to the rights of women.

She expressed concern that the spate of girl-child kidnappings in Nigeria has assumed an alarming dimension.

“On the 21st of February, 2018, the nation was shocked with the news of the kidnap of 110 school girls from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, Busari Local Government Area of Yobe State. This incidence is reminiscence of the 2014 Chibok Girls abduction in which 113 of the girls are still in captivity almost four years after,” She recalled.

Senator Olujimi, lamented that a pattern is gradually being, established which clearly indicates that the objectives of the Boko Haram insurgents is to deprive young girls of school age from pursuing education.

She therefore warned that if this ugly trend is not checked, the girl-child education which is part of the objective of goal number 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) would have been lost in Nigeria even before the 2030 target year.

The Ekiti state born lawmaker noted that policies are needed to promote women’s access to education, innovative technologies and practices, decent work and climate-resilient jobs and protect women from violence in schools and work places.

According to her, the implementation of policies that prohibits violence against women and girls and promotes the girl-child education is still very poor.

“Practices such as violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation, early child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation are still being practiced,” she said.

In his Contribution to the debate, Senator Ali Aidoko noted that women needed to be celebrated for their unique roles in the society, lamenting that they have long been marginalized, shortchanged and therefore needed the support of all.

This, he said has become necessary “because women and children are always the victims of terrorism, kidnapping and war”, adding that we need to protect our women, it is just unfortunate that this is the only country where women are not protected”.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over thursday’s plenary, agreed that women need to be celebrated due to their unique accomplishments in all facets of life.


Lateefah Ibrahim