12th October, 2022
The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs (HMWA), Dame Pauline Tallen, OFR, KSG has held up education as key for Girl-child development and empowerment as well as being important for the country to have better leaders. She added that “Where Girl-child is not exposed to equal treatment as the Boy-child does not portend good for the home and the Society.
The Minister who made this remark in her keynote address at the “State of the Nigerian Girls Summit” (SONGS) held at the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) Abuja with the theme: “Our time is now, Our right, Our Future”, described it is a clarion call for parents to take matters of Girl-child seriously.
Dame Tallen added that “being a maiden event, the forum is expected to be an annual event where concrete policy recommendations to inform policy directions and interventions are to be promoted to aid the realization of Girl-child potential.”
The Minister while urging parents be a role model for their children, particularly the Girl-child also encouraged men to see their Girl-child as their mother, sister and a friend that should be protected.
According to her, the Summit was conceived to celebrate Nigerian Girl-child and also, to commemorate the 2022 International Day of the Girl-Child which is usually marked on the 11th of October, every year. She emphasized that the occasion was to express concern about social and economic limitations placed on the potentials of the Girl-child, adolescent girls and young women from achieving their aspirations.
The Minister said parents missed it totally when they believe that the Boy-child is better than the Girl-child. She stressed that the Girl-child is made to do house chores, in the erroneous belief that home keeping is only the responsibility of the girls while boys sit idle doing nothing just because it is believed that he is the future custodian of the house.
“We must treat children equally. It is not right thinking that the boy-child is special and his role is to sit while the girl cooks. He would not sweep; he would not clean the house or cook because he is a future man of the home. Gender disparity starts from the home.”
Tallen stressed that men should work with women so that they can understand better what women are going through. Tallen revealed that she doggedly fought against the appointment of a man as Commissioner of Women Affairs in a State in the country. She said she was proud seeing mothers from 36 States of Nigeria gracing the occasion which demonstrated that they love their children; particularly the Girl-child.
While Dame specifically eulogized Aisha Muazu from Government Secondary School, Tundun Wada who is the “Girl-child Representative” at the event for her powerful presentation, the Minister encouraged other children at the occasion to emulate her as they can do better than her, stating that when education and hard work are taken as priority for the Girl-child, they can achieve whatever they set their minds on, to achieve.
The Minister commended the Guest Speaker, Dr. Mairo Mandara who is a Special Adviser to Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum and also, Founder of an NGO – The voice of Nigerian Child, for her enlightening and educative lecture at the Summit, stressing that more of her presentations are needed to bolster Girl-child agenda.
Tallen said as the day is a special day for the Girl-child, parents should see matters concerning their wards as important, calling on parents to support the issue of Girl-child so that children can have a better future.
The Minister enjoined the wives of the Governors and States Commissioners of Women Affairs present at the event to cascade the lessons learnt at the Summit to their Communities and local governments so that girl-child issues will be given the visibility it deserves.
Earlier in his welcome address by Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shinkafi, while welcoming participants to the event, said the forum is timely as the outcome at the Summit will further strengthen policy decisions on the Girl-child and decisions on young women.
While delivering the special lecture for the Day, the Guest Speaker, Dr. Mairo Mandara focused her presentation on the need to move away from basic education and prioritize post-secondary education for Girl-child in Nigeria; saying that basic education does little for the Girl-child to make informed decision about themselves.
Before the Summit went into panel discussion, there were poem recitation and cultural presentations to add colour to the occasion.
The panel discussion x-rayed the “State of Nigeria Girls” with far-reaching conclusions.
Report by Taiwo Hassan, Chief Information Officer (Press Unit)
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Press & Public Relations.