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International Day of the Girl Child: Stakeholders advocate protection of gender

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Stakeholders and rights’ activists have called for protection of the girl child from being subjected to any form of inhuman treatment, as contained in the Child Rights Act in 2003.

They also seek the enactment of the Act, which is not effective in many states in the country. This, they said, has exposed female children to sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices and other forms of discrimination.

With this year’s theme, My Voice; Our Equal Future, they call for an amplified voice for the girl child, as a human being and change-maker.

Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, the Executive Director, Initiative for Women and Girls Rights Advancement (IWOGRA), Nkechi Obiagbaoso-Udegbunam, said the rights enumerated in the Act, were also to be enjoyed by the girl child, same way the boy child does.

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Obiagbaoso-Udegbunam said the girl child’s voice must be protected and promoted. The Nigeria we want for women and ourselves tomorrow is determined by the Nigeria we have prepared for the girl child today. Therefore, recognising the rights of the girl child is recognising the future of women.

For Programme Director, Girls Inspired Development Network, Amaka Nneji: “We recognise the realities and challenges of being a girl in this age and time. Hence, we campaign for girls to amplify their voices and stand up for their rights through our various empowerment and advocacy programmes.”

Nneji said in alignment with the year’s celebration, group was determined to further assist girls to find an equal playing ground to thrive and succeed in their endeavours.

Similarly, Founder, She Forum Africa, Ms. Inimfon Etuk, said an average Nigerian girl child’s voice does not count.

She lamented that over 10 million children were reportedly out of school in Nigeria, and the girl-child was the most disadvantaged.

She said: “It is only by working towards meeting the education goal for the girl-child that we can comfortably assure their future. The girl-child needs to understand that she has the power to speak up and bring value to the table…”

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