Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the Muhammadu Buhari administration will ensure that no Nigerian child is denied access to basic education.
Osinbajo spoke yesterday in Abuja as the guest of honour at the National Dialogue Forum on the Girl-Child in Nigeria with the theme: Towards A Girl-Friendly Nigeria, organised by the Women Arise for Change Initiative in collaboration with the African Child Policy Forum of Ethiopia.
He said the current administration had put a lot of efforts into improving access to education for the girl-child in Nigeria, strseeing that the Federal Government was “committed in word and deed to education to ensure that no child is denied access to free basic education”.
Quoting Osinbajo, a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said: “We believe that free and compulsory education for girls is game-changing in many respects as it has been empirically shown to positively impact age of marriage and even maternal and infant mortality.
“In 2020, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a World Bank credit facility of $500 million to finance the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Project, to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas of participating states, which are Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Plateau.
“The project is aimed at creating safe and accessible learning spaces, advancing an enabling environment for girls, and strengthening the institutional capacity of the Federal and State governments to support girls’ education and empowerment.”
The Vice-President explained that, the project, which targets girls between the ages of 10 to 20 years with a strong focus on disadvantaged adolescent girls, has been beneficial to over 6 million girls and boys.
Osinbajo promised that the Buhari administration would continue to put the needs of the girl-child in Nigeria at the forefront of laws, policies and practices to ensure their safety, education and health.
The Vice-President hailed Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin and her organisation, Women Arise for Change Initiative, for being at the forefront of ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in Nigeria.
Dr. Okei-Odumakin, who hailed Osinbajo for his passion for the girl-child, noted that Nigeria has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in Africa.
She said Nigerian girls are also at the high risk of abduction, displacement and even death, due to insecurity and conflicts caused by insurgents and armed criminals.
Dignitaries at the event included Women Affairs Minister Pauline Tallen; Executive Director of African Child Policy Forum, Dr. Joan Nyanyuki; representatives of diplomatic missions and development partners