Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Tuesday hosted the United Nation’s Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, alongside Malala Yousafzai, a girl-child education activist and UN peace ambassador in Maiduguri.
During the visit, Zulum said his administration have enrolled thousands of out-of-school girls in an ongoing target of admitting 500,000 girls to public primary schools across the state.
Malala Yousafzai, came to Nigeria to commemorate 10 years of her first speech at the UN General Assembly and to celebrate Malala Day.
Every July 12th, the UN celebrates Malala Day in honour of Malala Yousafzai. The day falls on her birthday, which seems fitting to honour her extraordinary life spent fighting for the rights of children and women.
Joining to honour Malala, Governor Zulum cited that girl-child education is key to addressing social and economic problems in the long run. He said out-of-school girls are significantly more than the number of boys not yet in schools across Borno, which is why the state government is strongly keen on enrolling girls into schools.
Speaking earlier, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed said, “We are here (Maiduguri) your Excellency, because this is the place where Malala started her efforts in Nigeria to call for girls’ education, the safety of their education and the right to their education, the progress in their future so that they also join the people of their community, their state and Nigeria to be part of their economy.”
Also speaking, Malala expressed optimism about the future of girls’ education. She said, “They (girls) are so determined, dedicated and optimistic about a better future. I am celebrating 10 years of my UN speech and will be celebrating my 26th birthday tomorrow (Wednesday).
She added, “Ever since my UN speech, I have been travelling to different countries around the world, because I want to bring stories of other girls. People heard my story and realised how it is for one girl to have an education, so we want to remind the world to think of other millions of girls who do not have access to education.”
Commenting on the investment in the education sector, Malala said, “We need all leaders to invest in the education of the future generation, we need to ensure we are investing in innovative and digital ways to make education more accessible. Education is the foundation of building a strong country, a strong world, giving it a strong economy, peace and stability.”
The DSG was in Maiduguri along with Nigeria’s resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Mr Matthias Schmale, Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai and some officials of the UN.
The wife of the Borno State Governor, Dr Falmata Babagana Umara Zulum, who received the delegation at the Maiduguri International Airport, was also present during the meeting with the Governor.
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