FIDA Nigeria marks the International Day of the Girl Child 2019
FIDA Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking the International Day of the Girl Child, 2019, with the theme “Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable”. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting their empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
We celebrate the strength within our daughters, against all the odds that the Nigerian society stacks against them daily. The girl child is faced with challenges ranging from early marriage to denial of formal education, trafficking, prostitution and female genital mutilation. These ills have crippled the potentials of our female children who are of inestimable value to our society and economy.
According to UNICEF, with the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) among girls and women aged 15-49 years at 27 percent, Nigeria has the third highest absolute number of women and girls (19.9 million) who have undergone FGM/C worldwide. It is more commonly practiced in the south, driven by grandmothers and mothers-in-law who aiming to curb promiscuity as they prepare girls for marriage expose them to this harmful practice.
In addition, a report by Save the Children states that Nigeria has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rate in the world. A 2017 report by UNICEF also states that 43% of Nigerian girls are married off before their 18th birthday, while 17% are married before they turn 15. Childbearing for these child-brides is risky as many of them are not physically ready for either pregnancy or labour. Thus, many of these girls go on to have Vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) or Recto-vaginal fistula (RVF) or a combination of both.
All the above acts culminate in gender-based violence which FIDA Nigeria stands against. FIDA Nigeria, is an organization with a mandate to enhance, promote, protect and preserve the rights and welfare of women and children.
The VAPP Act is the benchmark legislation for prosecuting gender-based violence in Nigeria and there is therefore the need to ensure its adoption
FIDA Nigeria calls for collective efforts from all – parents, guardians, traditional institutions, religious leaders, faith and community based organizations, civil society organizations, international institutions and their agencies, the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, and all other key stakeholders – to join hands to improve the plight of the Nigerian girl child. To empower them, inequality and gender gaps must be reduced, which will culminate in strong women leaders. Nurturing the girl child is a way of insuring the future against absenteeism of women from the socio-political, cultural and economic spheres of the country.
We urge the Government to ensure the full implementation of the Child’s Rights Act, the Violence against Person’s (Prohibition) Act (VAPP Act), 2015 and all laws that support the full development of the girl child. We demand programmes to support the girl child’s social, intellectual and indeed total development, as a key actor in the sustainable development agenda. We believe that with early education of the girl child on her rights and the diverse opportunities that lie ahead of her, she will become unstoppable and act unscripted.
Let us all join hands to make the Girl Child #UNSTOPPABLE
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National Publicity Secretary