By Rakiya A.Muhammad
Stakeholders have been urged to protect and promote the rights of girls in rural communities. “Girls in rural areas need to be developed, their rights have to be protected because Gender-Based Violence (GBV), especially rape, is prevalent in communities,” the ActionAid Nigeria programme officer Kyauta Giwa stated.
She stressed this during awareness programme organised by an NGO, Rural Women and Youth Development (RUWOYD) in collaboration with Action Aid Nigeria and NORAD in Sokoto. It was as part of activities to mark this year’s International Day of the Girl-Child with the theme “My Voice, Our Equal Future.”
Giwa asserted: “It is an opportunity for us to bring these communities to the fore, to present it to government and other policymakers and development partners to assist the girl child. This is the only way we can project them, assist them to go to school, learn crafts, among others.’’ She was optimistic of a positive change in the lives of the girls.
District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, expressed concern over the number of girls not going to schools, percentage of women not attending hospitals in Sokoto, and prevalence of rape cases in the country.
He identified culture and poverty as major contributors to the challenges mitigating against girl’s education and empowerment in northern parts of the country.
The traditional leader advised the girls not to allow anything to disrupt their education. He acknowledged that the conditional cash transfer schemes in Sokoto State had raised girls’ enrolment in schools and prevented them from hawking.
However, he stressed the need to enrol more girls in schools and protect them.
Coordinator of Productive Youth Vanguards, Dr Awwal Musa noted many girls were being abused and threatened by perpetrators not to disclose their identities.
He urged girls to shun temptations.” Sky is your limits you can attend any position in life, provided you are dedicated, focused and pursue your ambitions.”
Also speaking, Director Mobilisation, in Sokoto Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr Kabiru Umar, called on parents to allow their children to access the programmes put in place by the state government to promote girls’ education.