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FG assures of adequate security for school children, Nigerians

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Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen (fourth-left); UN Women Country Representatives, Comfort Lamptey (third-right) and other participants during the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child in Abuja… yesterday PHOTO: NAN

•Adolescents Have Higher Risk Of Contracting HIV/AIDS, Says AHF
The Federal Government, yesterday, said it was working to ensure that school children are secure and protected against attacks and other security threats even while in school.

Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, stated this after a One Million Girls March for free and Compulsory Secondary Education for Girls, organised by the Girl-Child Concerns in Abuja to mark the International Day of the Girl Child.

Tallen observed that government was highly concerned about the recent attacks on schools by kidnappers and urged community leaders, traditional rulers and religious leaders to also show concern, be security conscious and support government efforts to ensure that their communities are secured.

She said: “Government is doing everything possible to ensure that the girl-child goes to school and remain in school, because educating the girl child is educating the nation. Government is concerned about the security of our school children and is working to ensure that our school children are secure even while in school. That is why

“The President is having frequent meeting with the security chiefs and they are having a security council meeting on the security of our people.”

Also speaking, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, represented by the Minister of State for FCT, Hajia Ramatu Tijani, joined the call for free education from primary to senior secondary schools in all ramifications.

Bello called for an end to sexual and emotional abuse of the girl-child in the country, stressing that the girl-child has the right to live freely.

In her remarks, United Nations (UN) Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, lamented that girls in Nigeria are still discriminated against and so many out of school because they are forced to marry early, go out to work or not having basic necessities.

She said: “We need to address these problems if we are to empower the girl-child. We need to find out how far girls in Nigeria have progressed and invest in the girl-child.”

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has said that adolescents are most at risk from contracting HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and infections.

Nigeria, Country Director, Echey Ijezie, who stated this yesterday in Abuja at the organisation’s commemoration of the International Day of the Girl-Child, under the theme, ‘Empowered Girls: Brighter Future, said this was because they are more likely to engage in “risky behaviours.”

The Day is celebrated globally every year on October 11.

Ijezie called on parents, teachers and the broader stakeholders in Nigeria to engage with adolescents on sexual and reproductive health issues, adding that WHO defines adolescents as people between the ages of 10 and 24 years old “and this age is important because it is characterised by rapid physical growth and development, as well as sexual maturation and also risky behaviours.”

Also speaking, Isah Ahmadu, who represented the director of the Department of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, said he was overwhelmed by the participation of students, stressing the need for improved hygiene in the environmental learning centres for students.

The event, which was attended by students drawn across schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had representative of the schools making presentations on topics related sexual reproductive health.


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