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Justice for silenced girls

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All 106 girls who either escaped or were released or rescued from their captors “will be resuming school at the American University of Nigeria foundation school in September 2017,” said Alhassan.<br />

Sir: As Nigeria commemorated the International Day of the Girl Child, a day set aside for the rights of the girl child, painful incidences of the Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu, Uwaila Omozuwa, and every other girl who have been a victim of injustice, who although have yet not received justice come to mind. These girls and the incidences surrounding their cases will continue to be on the front burner until justice is served and every girl is given the dignity they deserve. Therefore, we call on the executive, the legislative and judicial arms of government and everyone concerned to ensure that justice is served; even the voice of Uwaila in the grave should be heard.

It is our wish that the same momentum in which all and sundry are raising their voices to #EndSARS, is the same way all Nigerians will raise their voices to insist on justice for these girls whose voices are being silenced by the actions and inactions of the appropriate bodies. No doubt, huge steps have been taken but there needs to be a conclusion, which is justice. Has Uwaila’s case been laid to rest again? The public deserves to know the progress reports on this case and others. ‘#JusticeforUwa #JusticeforLeah #BringBackOurGirls.’

It is important to achieve equality by ensuring equity while appointing government officials. Why is it so difficult in Nigeria, to have a cabinet that adheres to the 35 per cent affirmative action as proposed in the National Gender Policy? Is this asking for too much? If our women are still battling for relevance, what then is the future of our girls today? We call on the Presidency to consider this,’ parents should groom their girls and expose them to forums where they can lend their voices.

Parents must contribute to building their girls’ self-esteem to ensure that their voices are not hidden beginning from the family. If society will not give her a voice, the girl should find her voice, speak up and speak out for the future. There are so many other positive things girls can lend their voices to. In SHADE-IN, we remain committed to providing a platform where girls can lend their voices.’ While there is still the debate of women’s and girls’ social inclusion to attain gender equality, girls must not allow themselves to be relegated to the background but must find their voices and they must speak up and speak out.

Mrs. Bliss Ojeruse is Executive Director (Programmes), Saving Hand Development Initiative, SHADE-IN, Benin City, Edo State.  


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