Nigerian Children have called for the prosecution of parents and others guilty of any form of violence and harmful traditional practices against the vulnerables, especially the girl-child.
They made the appeal during the interactive session with policy and decision makers to mark the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and donor partners on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ms Onyechi Ikenna, one of the speakers, appealed to the federal government and relevant stakeholders to strengthen legislation that would prohibit harmful traditional practices affecting children.
She said: “We call for legislation that will prohibit early child marriage and prosecute parents committing such crimes.
“We also call for more investment in girl-child education which will enable us to have access to quality education and empower us to utilise our potential.”
Also, Master Godwin Miracle stressed the need for more strategies to be deployed that will inspire children to strive towards excelling in all areas of their lives.
Miracle also called on children and youths to make their voices heard, which will enable relevant stakeholders to prioritise all issues affecting them.
On her part, Ms Dorcas Alkali, a junior secondary school student, said ” investing in girl-child education would help to break down barriers, ensure gender equality, reduce poverty, and infant and child mortality.”,
Similarly, Ms Rohama Ijonada, President, FCT Children’s Parliament, called for more support to issues affecting children to enable them thrive and excel in all their endeavors.
Ijonada also encouraged children to champion their voices on issues affecting girls and vulnerables so that actions would be taken to resolve them.
Murjanatu Kabir, representing Save the Children Nigeria, reiterated their commitment towards impacting the lives of children, especially in areas of education, healthcare and prevention of abuses.T
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Ohanenye, assured the children of the government’s commitment towards addressing the plight of children, women and vulnerables.
Ohanenye stressed the need for the girl-child to be focused on her education to enable her to unleash her potential and make an impact in the society.
“It is good to learn a skill, but don’t forget your education because that is the key to unleashing your potential.
“Be focused, listen to your mum and look at the best things to emulate. Don’t look at peer influence that will lead you into drugs and other negative vices.
“That’s why you should focus more on your education and skill because when you are busy you won’t have time for frivolities and other vices,” she advised.
Meanwhile, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady of Nigeria, said: “Education is the cornerstone of empowerment, and we must ensure that every girl has a chance to learn and grow.
“We must see to it that every girl has access to quality education and is free from all forms of discrimination be it religious, cultural or traditional.
“We must protect them from all forms of violence. It is our collective duty to create a safe and inclusive environment where girls can thrive.”
Other highlights of the day were interactive sessions, cultural dance and motivational speeches by students and others to mark the day.