Posted by By Chinyere Amalu, Abuja on
MRS. Maryam Ciroma, Women Affairs minister is on a mission. She is not happy and she swears that there will be no going back until she realises her goal.
MRS. Maryam Ciroma, Women Affairs minister is on a mission. She is not happy and she swears that there will be no going back until she realises her goal. Her fury is informed by what she says is the continuing exploitation of the Nigerian child by way of denying him or her the right to sound education, and particularly the exhibition of all forms of discrimination against the girl-child. For a start, she wants to resuscitate the national and zonal task force to monitor all the programmes geared towards development and emancipation of the girl-child.
Speaking at the children’s New Year party in Abuja, Mrs. Ciroma frowned that in this modern age, the girls were still being discriminated against by some cultures.
She said: “In 2006, we shall fully resuscitate the national and zonal task force on the girl-child to facilitate monitoring of the various programmes, policies and instruments for ensuring the education of the girl-child
“She is denied her rights to education and forced into early marriage, thus gravely limiting her ability to live a full and useful life.”
Beyond that, the minister could not conceal her frustration to see teenagers engaging all sorts of menial jobs, and being forced to street life at such tender ages. “This government is desirous to see our young boys and girls develop. We’ve done a lot to empower them and to get them back to the schools because that is the best foundation you can lay for the future of these kids and the country.”
On the issue of orphans and in particular those orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, Mrs. Ciroma said her ministry’s objective is to reintegrate them into families and ensure that they are not stigmatised or suffer social exclusion of any form.
“In this regard, I want to encourage families to reintegrate orphans into their families through adoption in order to give them the opportunity of being brought up in an atmosphere of love and care,” the minister added.
As she spoke, there was no denying the emotions that had suddenly gripped Mrs. Ciroma. She did not mince words that it is a sin against humanity for Nigerians to exploit and/or discriminate against girl-children. She faulted the idea of sending children of school age to the streets to hawk goods.
The minister, however, charged the children too to be of good behaviour both at home, school and among their peers and to respect their parents, saying that the present administration is committed to improving the children’s welfare, sound development and protection. Also speaking on the occasion, the President of Children’s Parliament, Mr. Ibrahim Adamu called on the Federal Government to take the issue of education very seriously, especially the orphans and the physically-challenged who are from poor families.
According to him, “for Nigerian children to be sound, both physically and morally, government must make their learning environment more conducive”. He also enjoined Nigerian children to shun all forms of violence, cultism and to grow up as future leaders. “Parents should make sure that they give their children time to discover their potentials so that they can contribute to the development of the country”, he said.
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