The utmost responsibility of any nation is to provide security for her citizens – Prof. Stella Odebode.
As the world marked another “Day of the Girl Child” on 11th October 2018, there were many activities organized by individuals, organizations, and groups to draw attention to the challenges beguiling and preventing girls from achieving their potentials. It was also to bring to fore practices that harm the girl child’s physical and psychological well-being and to seek solutions to ending these inhuman treatments such as rape, sexual violence, abduction and kidnap, sex slavery, early marriage, lack of equal rights to education and opportunities, domestic abuse, child slavery and Female Genital Mutilation(FGM).
One of such organization, “The Fill in the Gap Outreach(NGO)”, brought together various stakeholders; students, parents and guardians, policy makers, Community leaders, development partners, and the media to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child through a public lecture. The CEO, Princess Aderonke Olajide in her opening remarks said that one of the organization’s goal is premised on filling the gaps created by unexpected pregnancy which occurs in the life of some girls for whatever reason. Fill in the Gaps provide support for such girls through ensuring safe delivery of their babies and ensuring they go back to school/learn a skill.
An interesting, informative and eye-opening lecture titled, “The Girl Child as an Endangered Species in the 21st Century Nigeria was delivered by Prof. Stella Odebode, Director Gender Mainstreaming office, University of Ibadan.
A few take away points from the lecture:
- Globally 60% of girls are denied education as opposed to boys who are 40%.
- Rape and sexual violence is a global phenomenon that needs to be continually addressed. Students are sexually molested by teachers, headmasters and other people who are supposed to be carers.
- Perpetrators are hardly prosecuted which promotes the culture of silence.
- Parents need to be very sensitive and conscious of any signs that anyone is attempting to abuse their wards particularly extended family members living with them.
- Prevalence of Child marriage and young mothers: According to a study carried out by Prof. Stella Odebode in Igbo Ora, Oyo state there is a prevalence of young mothers ages 11, 12 and above.
- There is an increased incidence of school dropout and unwanted pregnancy in girls.
- 1 in 4 children is reported as having an incidence of sexual violence.
- In some parts of Nigeria, 43% of girls are married off before age 18. In some other parts, 15% are married off before age 15.
- Key ailments of girls exposed to early marriage are VVF, Anemia, High Blood pressure, premature births and even death in some cases.
- Enforcement and implementation of the law against rape/sexual abuse. According to the Nigerian criminal code- Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl/woman without her consent; by means of force, threat or intimidation is guilty of an offense of rape/sexual abuse which is punishable under the law.
- Formal criminalization of child marriage in all parts of the country in Nigeria.
- Focus more resources to provide equal opportunities for boys and girls.
- The demand, marketing, and supply channels of baby factories must be identified and dealt with.
- All maternity and orphanage homes should be dully registered to nib in the board criminal activities that expose children particularly girls to any form of sexual exploitation and abuse.
- Speak up and do something about that your neighbor who is abusing his/her housemaid or child. If you notice something isn’t right and a life is endangered, do not mind your business. Remember that it could be you or your child.
You are standing under the shade of a tree because someone planted it – Warren Buffet
Dignitaries at the Lecture
Dr. Mike Omotosho, PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International – Chairman.
Her Excellency, Omolewa Yetunde Ahmed- First Lady of Kwara State – Special guest of Honour
Prof. Stella Odebode – Guest Lecturer
Mr. Oluwarotimi O. Martins – MD/CEO Midway Airlines – Chief Launcher
Chief Mrs. Ranti Koiki – CEO, Fawzy Hotels, Nigeria – Guest of Honour
Alh. Mohammed Bello – Zonal Director, FRCN Ibadan Zonal station – Guest of Honor
Asiwaju Abdlrazaq Shittu – President/Chairman, Skysite Offshore Access (WA)Ltd – Father of the Day
Princess Olabisi Sangodoyin
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – firstname.lastname@example.org