The First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, on Wednesday in Abuja called on the populace to equip the girl-child with quality education, to help them to withstand societal challenges.
Mrs Tinubu gave this advice at the Maryam Babangida Women Development Centre on the commemoration of the 2023 International Day of the Girl-Child themed, “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership and Our Well-being”.
She said the day provided an opportunity for people to reflect on the challenges faced by girls in the country, and to also celebrate their remarkable potential and resilience.
She said that she was inspired by the significance of the occasion both at the global scale and within the rich tapestry of the Nigerian context.
“It is disheartening to acknowledge that many Nigerian girls still face discrimination, violence and limited access to education and health care; we must confront these issues by striving for better, more equitable future for our daughters.
“They are the leaders of today; therefore, it is high time we broke down the barriers that have held them back for long and education is the key weapon that we must use to ensure that every girl is free from discrimination and intimidation.
“Education, in particular, is a cornerstone of empowerment, and we must ensure that every girl has the chance to learn and grow, empowering them with knowledge is investing in our nation’s future.’’
The First Lady advised the public to ensure that every girl had access to quality education, to help in setting them free from any form of discrimination, be it religious, cultural or traditional.
She further encouraged the adults to protect the girls from all forms of violence, adding that it is a collective duty of people to create a safe and inclusive environment for girls to thrive.
She said she has prioritised the girl-child issues under her NGO, the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI), to encourage the girl-child to achieve her potentials and attain higher positions.
“We are looking at promoting alternative high schools for girls, so that irrespective of whatever misadventure they find themselves, they can still acquire education that could give them access to higher education.
“I urge all well meaning Nigerians to help show the girl-child that there is a good way, a better way, some of these are; ensure access to quality education as well as promoting health and well-being.
“Also, end gender-based violence e. g child labour, child trafficking, child sex workers like baby factories, educate girls to speak out and promote mentorship and role models that can encourage them to find their voices.’’
The First Lady also acknowledged that the girls were the change-makers, the innovators, and the dreamers, who if given the chance would reshape the world positively.
She, however, encouraged all Nigerian children especially the girls to dream big and positively, “because the dream will keep you alive and keep you going”.