Traditional Leaders in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, say they are committed to upholding the rights, voices and influence of the girl child in their communities.
District Head of Kufana – Adara Chiefdom, Chief Titus Dauda, made the commitment on Tuesday in Kaduna at an event to commemorate the “2019 International Day of the Girl”.
It was organized by the State Ministry of Education in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with support from Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) under its project being supported by RiseUp .
Chief Dauda, who spoke on behalf of traditional leaders in the state, felicitated with the girls as they mark the special day with the theme: “Girlforce: Unscripted and unstoppable”.
The International Day of the Girl Child, is commemorated every 11th October, to amplify their voices
“The theme is apt as we have seen the positive impact of girls who were given the opportunity to achieve their dreams and attain their goals in our families, communities and nation at large. The traditional institution recognizes the place of girls as potential wives and mothers and as well as their role as powerful agents of change.
“Hence, as custodians of our culture and traditions we remain committed to upholding the rights, voices and influence of the girl child in our communities. We enjoin parents to give the girl child the opportunity to attain her goals which begins with access to quality education.” He said.
Similarly, the State Commissioner of Education, Shehu Usman Makarfi, àrepresented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Phoebe Sukai Yayi, said the state government since 2012 has been marking the Day of the Girl Child which is aimed at highlighting and addressing the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls; empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
“We celebrate our girls and women who are standing despite all challenges, we celebrate you who are holding our hands supporting us move taking the first step and also supporting as girls move forward. We celebrate those who are helping and supporting us stand up when we fall to continue walking towards our great future.” She added.
In a message to the occasion, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, stated that, the organization is advocating for the girls because “when they have age-appropriate knowledge about their bodies and relationships, they are better able to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
“They can stay on track to complete their education and gain the skills they need to find and keep decent jobs and reach their full potential. This is life-changing for girls and game-changing for societies. Empowering girls in all spheres of their lives can help countries lay the foundation for prosperity and well-being and reap a demographic dividend of economic growth.”
Represented by the Head UNFPA Sub Office in Kaduna, Mariama Daboe, expressed worries that despite many promises made by government to the girls in Cairo and Beijing, none of them is yet to be fulfilled.
“Many of the promises that governments made to girls in Cairo and Beijing have yet to be fulfilled. By following through on our commitments, we will set the stage for girls to live the lives they dream and be the unstoppable force for progress we know that they are.
“At UNFPA, we believe in the power of girls to take control over their bodies, write their own script and shape their own lives. Our global strategy for adolescents and youth My Body, My Life, My World is our rallying cry as we march with them towards the Nairobi Summit.
“Next year, the world will also mark the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, another milestone on the path towards rights and choices for girls.”