Poor education of girls hinders Africa’s development–Experts
Worried by the poor enrollment statistics of the girl children in schools and the attendant dangers it poses to the socio-cultural and economic development of the Africa, experts and eminent speakers have identified ways to address the disturbing issue.
It was at the “Regional Conference for African Traditional and Religious Leaders on Keeping Girls in School in Africa”.
The conference, organized by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, was tagged ‘Keeping Girls in School’.
The three-day event, held at Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, attracted first class monarchs from the north, other prominent Nigerian traditional rulers and representatives of major international organisations.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, in his opening remark, lamented the socio-economic backwardness and technological underdevelopment of many African countries, situations he attributed to the poor enrollment figure of female children and under-age girls in schools.
“Both traditional and religious leaders in our African continent must actively participate in designing, developing and implementing cardinal programmes aimed at empowering our young girls, women and vulnerable mothers. This is imperative as they are the bedrock of societal development. The potential of the girl child is enormous, hence there is need for critical stakeholders, governments, traditional rulers, clerics and clergymen to key into the vision of our foundation, which is to enroll and keep female children in schools. Otherwise, realizing their ultimate and divine purpose in life will remain a wishful thought,” his eminence said.
The Sultan, who chaired the conference, pointed out that maternal and child natality, poverty, economic stagnation, social upheavals, teenage pregnancy, and political instability, among several problems bedeviling developing countries are due to government’s and stakeholders carefree attitude to promoting girl education.
He expressed belief that the recommendations of erudite speakers, religious scholars and gender experts, if aggressively implemented after the conference, will significantly help in curtailing the spate of illiteracy and gender discrimination against the women folk, while also fast-tracking socio-economic growth for the continent.
While declaring the event open, President Muhammadu Buhari, applauded the Sultan and organizers of the conference for their foresight, vision and tremendous passion for the development of African women and the girl child.
He noted that the conference represents a giant step towards re-awakening the consciousness of governments and policy makers, with a view to finding lasting solution to challenges hindering the development of upcoming females and women in general.
Buhari tasked traditional rulers and religious clerics to be in the fore front of campaign to promote and support the acquisition of qualitative education by girls, through aggressive sensitization and well-planned advocacy among their subjects.
He pledged Federal Government’s support to the programmes and activities of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which are targeted at empowering the women, saying that “it is only when our young girls and upcoming mothers are properly educated, that they can help in molding the behavioural characters, and social norms of the future generations”.
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, and representatives of both the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Amina Zakari, and His Majesty, the Kabaka of Buganda in Uganda, were among guest speakers who delivered goodwill remarks at the occasion.
Other prominent dignitaries at the event include the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Etsu Nupe, Alh. Yahaya Abubakar; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau.