Olaleye Aluko, Abuja
The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has said Boko Haram’s abduction of schoolgirls and aid workers in the North-East is worrisome, saying the terrorists should “leave our daughters alone.”
Buhari, who spoke in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2018 International Day of the Girl-Child in Nigeria, noted that the government would continue to provide opportunities to enhance girl-child education.
The event, organised by the National Centre for Women Development of the Ministry of Women Affairs, had the theme, ‘Empower girls: Before, during and after the conflict.’
Buhari, whose speech was read by a Senior Special Assistant, Dr Hajo Sani, also inaugurated the National Gender Action Plan at the event on Friday, noting that an educated girl-child was a yardstick to measure educational development.
She said, “We have all causes to say to these people (terrorists), leave our daughters alone. I wish to reiterate the message, leave our daughters alone. I want us to remember all girls whose dreams have been cut short as a result of the injustice in the society and very fresh in our minds is the recent execution of Hauwa Liman, an aid worker by the Boko Haram insurgents.
“According to the World Bank, girl education is one of the most effective ways of ending poverty in developing countries. As an educated girl-child grows into a woman, she is able to build her self-confidence and she is able to overcome obstacles and succeed in her career.
“My dream for the Nigerian girl-child is to rise above limitations and take an advantage of the available education opportunities offered by the government to ensure that she attains the highest level of education. An educated girl-child is the face of education in this country.”
The NCWD Director-General, Mrs Mary Ekpere-Eta, said, “The observance of the day of the girl-child is intended to create a platform for high-level discourse on issues affecting girl-child education in Nigeria. Our centre will continue to provide the needed skills, innovations and facilities to enhance the welfare and development of women and the girl-children in the country.
The wife of the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, also met with 1000 schoolgirls from private and public schools across the country to discuss issues of education, sexual harassment and violence.