From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The wife of the chairman of Andoni Local Government Area in Rivers State, Prof Beatrice Awortu, has said that adequate career guidance and skills development are crucial to the emancipation of the girl child.
Prof Awortu said this at Ngo, the council headquarters, while addressing a cross-session of students in remembrance of the 2022 International Day of the Girl Child.
She urged young girls to equip themselves with enterprising skills as they strive towards achieving resourceful career parts to enable them to confront poverty and unemployment in society.
Attributing prostitution, drug addiction and other social vices to poverty and unemployment, Awortu urged parents and caregivers to support the girl-child to overcome them.
Prof Awortu, who is also the Director, General Studies Unit, Ignatius Aguru University of Education, admonished female students to resist peer pressure and invest spare time in self-development (skills acquisition).
“The challenge of poverty and unemployment can only be successfully addressed when the girl-child is empowered to become self-reliant, informed and fit to contribute to the development of the society,” she said.
Similarly, a Senior Registrar at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and resource person at the event, Amadi Awajimam, urged parents to shun inhumane practices such as early child marriage, female genital mutilation and other practices capable of endangering female reproductive health.
Awajimam, a Nephrologist, advised adolescent girls to build sustainable career parts, abstain from sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and attitudes capable of jeopardising their right to education.
Another guest lecturer, Dr Blessed Michael, of the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, Ignatius Aguru University of Education, on his part, warned the girl-child against indecent dressing and social media addiction.
Michael noted that the girl-child was expected to exhibit high-level integrity, discipline and decency, as society struggles to overcome the menace of sexual molestation and rape.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Council, Mr Erastus Awortu, has assured of preparedness to continue to invest in programmes that would benefit the girl-child and vulnerable in the area.
Awortu was represented by the council Secretary, Mr Franklin Dimiari.
The theme for the celebration: ‘Our time is now – Our Rights, Our Future,’ was geared towards reaffirming the rights of the girl-child, while also proffering solutions to challenges that limit her from attaining self-reliance.
The event also featured a talk show and gift presentation by the Council’s First Lady, Prof Awortu to the students.