By Asunmogejo Yusuf Olawale
If there is a perfect time to talk about the girl child, it is “NOW”, considering the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrelenting campaign of physical, emotional, and societal abuses on the girl child.
It is worthwhile to note that the world is a home to more than 1.1 billion girls under the age of 18. As euphonious as it sounds to the ear, the expected transformation of the girl child as building blocks of a transformed society has been undoubtedly low. This can be accrued by too many underground factors to which the abuse of the girl child is a part.
Importantly, Nigeria as a nation has not been able to look inwardly into the causes of the series of abuses confronting the girl child in the society.
Thave been unrelenting rape cases in Nigeria with more than 75% of the rape victims being the girl child. The spike in these immoral and heinous acts led to an outcry by the public elites who are so much concerned about our societal balance and a protected environment for the girl child.
The World Health Organisation declared that one in four girls and women will experience rape and/or sexual assault in Nigeria before the age of 18. To reduce the tension in the air, the Nigerian government in June 2020, declared a state of emergency on sexual violence, rape, and all other abuse on the girl child in all the 36 states of the federation.
As today marks the International Day of the girl child, one important question to ask is the readiness of the government to building a society where the women are a part of the driving force in making the much-desired change in the society. Have we witnessed this in Nigeria? Are our leaders channeling their resources in seeing to the transformation of the girl child?
These questions and many others are what we should answer if we want to have our girls transformed into female leaders, good mothers, homemakers, change-makers, entrepreneurs, and business moguls the world has ever seen.
It is pertinent to recognise the fact that Nigeria as a country has witnessed ground-breaking female personalities and young entrepreneurs such as Oladepo Precious Timilehin, the convener of the Oladepo Timilehin Foundation, Oladejo Mariam, the C.E.O of Dazzle Belleza, Yusuf Fatima Omowunmi, Abdulkareem Mariam, and many others in the academics, business and entrepreneurship world. One important question is “Are these people enough for us to have a more value-driven society?”
To mark this day, our leaders must rise to their responsibilities to focus on developing path-breaking policies that focus on seeing to a life free from harmful practices on the girl child, sexual assault, and societal disengagement.
As part of the movement to mark this day, is the recognition of the “rights” of the girl child and the challenges girls face from one society to the other and the promotion of societal support to see to the fulfillment of their fundamental human rights.
It is also important to state emphatically that we are not doing enough individually and collectively as a society. We continue to get ourselves involved in blame games when we are meant to collectively pursue the real interest of protecting our girls.
The big question is “What have I done to pursue this cause?” “What have you done on your part?” “Where did we get it all wrong as a society?” An answer to this will redirect our notion of how important the girl child is to our societal value.
Let’s get the engagement rolling in the comment section below. The best submission wins a prize.
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Asunmogejo Yusuf Olawale
Phone number: 07082398867
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