Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Nkechi Chima, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari vowed on Thursday that his administration will sustain on-going efforts to end child marriage and improve girl-child education in the country.
He made the promise at the official commissioning of the Head office of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in Abuja.
On 29 November 2016, Nigeria alongside the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa, launched in Abuja a national strategy with the goal of ending child marriage in Nigeria by 2030.
Tagged ‘The National Strategic Plan to End Child Marriage in Nigeria 2016-2021’, it aims to highlight the multi-sectoral, multifaceted activities needed to end child marriage in Nigeria.
The strategy is based on a coordination platform led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and co-chaired by Save the Children.
According to President Buhari, it is the collective duty of all to ensure that Nigerian mothers are educated, encouraged and empowered.
“Our quest is to ensure that the concerns of women, children and other vulnerable citizens are given prominence and ultimately addressed,” the President stated.
“A key priority of our government is the development and implementation of social inclusion and economic sustenance policies. Our determination is to ensure that economic growth and prosperity are felt by as wide a circle as possible.
“In particular, we are laying great emphasis on the education of the girl– child. The high level of young girls who are out of school or unable to complete school due to socio-economic pressures is disturbing and must be addressed.
“The launch of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage, 2016 – 2021 has been the first critical step towards increasing children’s access to quality all-round education and enhancing the retention of the girl-child in our schools,” he said.
The President enjoined the Ministry to continue to champion and coordinate all matters relating to the plight of Nigerian women and the most vulnerable citizens, assuring Nigerian women of his continued support and determination to see that the Ministry delivers on this mandate.
Buhari commended the Ministry and other relevant government agencies for positive contributions in reducing human trafficking incidents and maternal mortality.
“I expect this Ministry to maintain its lead coordinating role on these and other women’s related matters, working with state governments as well as our regional and international partners,” he said.
In her remarks, Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen thanked the President for recognising the role of women in nation-building and supporting the completion of the headquarters of the women ministry.
She appealed to the President to appoint more women into leadership positions in his government, assuring that her Ministry will double its efforts to improve girl-child education in the country while advancing the welfare of vulnerable persons and women.