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2023 Girl Child Day: Move beyond rhetorics, confront hydra headed scourge of terror facing girl child – FIDA charges FG

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child, FIDA Nigeria has charged the federal government and it’s law enforcement agencies to move beyond rhetoric, speeches and half-hearted
commitments but to confront head-on, the hydra
headed scourge of terror, impoverishment, marginalization and disenfranchisement facing the girlchild in Nigeria.

The Country Vice President/National President
FIDA Nigeria, Mrs Amina Suzanah Agbaje made the call on Wednesday in a statement she personally signed and made available to Sundiata Post in Abuja.

Sundiata Post recalls that the theme of this year’s Girl Chiild Day is: “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.”

According to the Country Vice President, this year’s theme resonates profoundly as it underscores the harsh realities faced by too many girls globally. It is a stark reminder of the countless girls who grapple with daily violations of their rights worldwide, stifled leadership potentials, and extremely precarious wellbeing. Overt discrimination, violence, exploitation, still persists, robbing them of the chance to blossom into their full potential.

“In a world which is meant to nurture their dreams and aspirations, countless girls instead suffer in silence, their pleas for help often going unheard and unanswered.”

She recounted with dismay that in Nigeria today, safeguarding the rights of the girl-child remains an uphill battle. Despite existing laws aimed
at protecting these rights, numerous girls still face countless barriers such as lack of access to education, early and forced marriages, gender discrimination, and indeed abuse and heightened violence in various forms.

Adding that the gap between legislative promise and stark reality continues to widen, casting a dark shadow over the futures of these vulnerable young lives. Sadly, as the call for increased access to education and other opportunities for the girl-child is reaching a crescendo, there has been relentless attacks on the future of the girl-child through series of abductions and kidnappings.

These, she said, have become rife and somewhat of a daily occurrence. Just recently, on the 22nd of September 2023, a large number of armed bandits invaded the hostels of undergraduates of the Federal University Gusau, Zamfara state and abducted an unspecified number of female students! Such ugly and disastrous occurrences have become one too many.

“How do we advocate for the future of the girl-child and the need for qualitative education so she can
fully achieve her potential, meanwhile barbarians masquerading under the garb of terror, continue to
shatter these dreams and obliterate the future of these girls via unchallenged kidnappings carried out
with impunity at schools and institutions of learning across the Nation. This cannot be allowed to continue!

Butressing her quote that: “When girls are given the opportunity to thrive, not only do their lives change but so do their communities”, the FIDA president reminded that an investment in the girl-child has tremendous impact on any society, as an empowered and educated woman has the power to educate the whole family and indeed change the trajectory of nation building!
“Success stories of Nigerian girls who were invested into, with respect to education and given the right
enabling environment to positively impact their generation, abound. Girls like 13 year old Nigerian born Emmanuella Mayaki who was the youngest person to be accepted into a university in the United States of America having achieved excellent proficiency in Microsoft programs at age , or 16 year old Esther Okade, a Nigerian-British genius who bagged her PhD in Financial mathematics and had enrolled into a UK university at age 10, and Folafoluwa Oginni who won best student in WAEC at age 17 and became British University’s first Nigerian Valedictoria.

She said, these few examples, are a clear testament to the tremendous potential embedded in the girl-child if properly harnessed. These girls grow up to become women like Hon. Justice Aloma Muktar. JSC (first female Chief Justice of Nigeria), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Director-General of the World Trade Centre),
Amina Mohammed (Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations) to mention but a few.

FIDA Nigeria is making this urgent CALL TO ACTION for increased protection of the girl-child and calls
on the Federal Government, all Security and Law Enforcement Bodies to confront head-on, the hydra
headed scourge of terror, impoverishment, marginalization and disenfranchisement facing the girlchild. Government must lead the charge and move beyond rhetoric and speeches or half-hearted
commitments and

Mrs Agbaje who tasked government to begin to take BOLD AND DICISIVE ACTIONS that will bring about needed changes, hinted that Civil Society organizations, Public and Private sectors, stakeholders and in truth all well-meaning
individuals need to lend their voices to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality.

She stressed that FIDA Nigeria will continue to be a voice for the voiceless and stand as a beacon of hope for every girl.

The FIDA National Presodent reitetated that despite formidable challenges, FIDA remains resolute in its commitment to protect, promote and
preserve the rights of women and children. We shall continue to navigate legal complexities towards
seeking redress and restitution for those who have suffered in silence as we envisage a world where
the girl-child is an agent of change, free from terror and discrimination and allowed to soar to her
fullest potential!
Together we must ensure that the girl-child enjoys the rights, leadership opportunities, and overawellbeing that she rightfully deserves, she added.