By Martin Paul in Abuja
Thousands of Nigerian female secondary school students joined their counterparts all over the world to mark the 2019 International Year of the girls.
The event, organized by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) with support from DFID, SIMBA, Girl Child Concerns UKaid, among others , has the theme: “Empowering Girls for Brighter Tomorrow and sub-theme as Girlsforce: Unscripted, Unstoppable”.
Also partnering the Fund are the |Federal Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and NMEC, who brought diverse groups under same goals to highlight, discuss and act to advance the right and opportunities for girls in the country.
The event, which has 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in attendance , had earlier been held with series of activities, including essay competition at states, local government and school levels.
“Series of activities are organized at school, state and national levels to create opportunities for girls to interact, share experiences and build their self-esteem, leadership and communication skills. These activities are part of the larger year-round Girls for Girls (G4G).
Speaking at the opening of the event, the Director-General, National Centre for Women Development, Bar. Mary Ekpere-Eta, commended UNICEF for spearheading the drive to improve the girl future in the country.
She noted that “the programme is aimed at breaking the barrier of girls being idle and thus permeating early marriages and inability to stay and complete school”, adding that every effort geared towards girls remaining in school was a good concept.
She disclosed that at present, the Centre had trained 147 girls on various skills across the country, and urged them to emulate the lives of women who are in governance and who have created impact in their daily activities.
Minister of State for FCT, Hajia, Rumatu Aliyu, advised girls to be obedience and obscure every tendency that would make them deviate from improving their future.
She noted: “We are in government today, but we were like you, so you too can be like us. We have discovered that girls are made nannies in many homes, they are vulnerable to human trafficking”.
Highlights of the celebration were proclamation of faith to remain in schools by the girls, dance drama and distribution of certificates to winners of essay competition at primary and secondary school levels.
At the secondary school level, Kano state emerged winner, followed by Kebbi and Bayelsa at second and third positions, respectively.
The primary school level had Bayelsa taking the first and second positions, while Katsina came third.
One of the sponsors, SIMBA, donated bicycles to some students, who distinguished themselves in various activities in proclaiming the Girl for Girl (G4G) concepts.