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UNFPA chief urges quality education for victims of insurgency

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Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

THE Federal Government has been urged to provide some measures to cushion the effects that women and children rescued from Boko Haram insurgents may face.

Speaking at a recent media interaction, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, urged the government to invest in quality education for them, which should include vocational and entrepreneurship training.

He urged governments to ensure that the victims are reintegrated into the society and sent back to school. While congratulating Nigerians on the successful conduct of the general elections, Osotimehin pledged the UNFPA’s readiness to assist in provision of psycho-social support for the returnees.

He added that the UNFPA has trained about 60,000 counsellors for this purpose. He stated that in conjunction with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, the UNFPA selected people from the community, trained them and sent them back to the area to work with the people.

The UNFPA executive director added that the UN was providing support for women and girls who had specific needs such as food, hygiene and clothing.

He expressed joy that the military intervention is yielding results in the efforts to return abducted victims. Urging the Nigerian government to do more in the area of healthcare provision, Osotimehin said the UNFPA is ready to assist in this direction, adding that in the North East, it has taken care of the delivery of about 16,000 women.

Also, the UNFPA Representative, Rati Ndhlovu, while decrying violence against women, noted that some of the abducted returnees are pregnant and the UNFPA, which is represented in about 150 countries of the world, is taking care of them.

She said the body, which is aware that they have stayed long in the forest, has provided about 600 dresses, which will be given to them as part of its support. Osotimehin further urged that sexuality education be given to them to avoid teen pregnancy.

He decried early marriage of the girl-child in the North East, adding that it contributes to maternal mortality. While urging the government to build and service abodes for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Osotimehin promised that the UN would partner the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF to provide camps for them.


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