Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, First Lady of Lagos State, has called for collective efforts towards promoting and protecting child education for sustainable development of the country.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Mrs Tawa Oshinowo, wife of the Chairman, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, made the call while delivery her goodwill message at the Maiden Annual Conference of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) on Thursday in Lagos.
She said that security of the country was key to facilitating continuity of the education system of the young ones, particularly the girl-child.
According to her, all hands must be on deck toward the fight against insecurity which have resulted to closure of many schools, particularly in the Northern part of the country.
“Without addressing insecurity, that will be a mirage and we cannot and must not allow a situation whereby the younger generation will be turned into endangered species for trying to access education.
“It is encouraging that we are beginning to record success in the fight against insecurity but it is still a far cry from where we desire and deserve to be.
“Therefore, we must continue to muster the necessary courage and will to do the needful to achieve comprehensive results that will translate into the younger generation accessing education in all parts of the country without let or hindrance.
“We also owe it a duty to give the younger generation the best in terms of education and generally protect their welfare and wellbeing so that they can grow to become responsible and useful adults,” Sanwo-Olu said.
She, therefore, urged the journalists to be in the vanguard of disseminating and sensitising the public by ensuring security of the girl-child against all forms of gender-based violence.
Speaking, the Matron of NAWOJ, Chief Alaba-Lawson, urged women to work together as comrades of unity and not to see themselves as the weak vessels.
Alaba-Lawson said that women would achieve more when they work collectively supporting each other.
Mrs Cecilia Bolaji-Dada, Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), said that Nigerian girls suffer more compared to boys in terms of missing out in education, abuses and harmful traditional practices.
Bolaji-Dada, represented by Mrs Lyla Oki, Director, Administration and Human Resource, said report showed that in North-Eastern Nigeria, only 41 per cent of eligible girls received primary education, have access to water sanitation and hygiene.
She said girl-child also faced major challenges of early marriage, street hawking and escorting beggars, amongst others.
She stated that Lagos State Government in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda has continuously provided access to education for girls and the youths.
“To this end, the Lagos State Government has approved the rehabilitation of 60 public schools across the state.
“The effort of the Lagos State Government in this regard is quite commendable as the education sector received the highest allocation under the present administration, in the State.
“Similarly, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has organised vocation trainings and skills for students in Eredo Local Council Development Area where a rehabilitation centre for survivors of rape is in place,” she said.
The theme of the NAWOJ conference is: “Insecurity: The Girl Child As Endangered Specie”.