11th October, 2019
As the world marks the International Day for the Girl Child, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), on Friday, decried the alarming number of out of schoolgirls in Nigeria.
Mrs. Mary Izam, the chairperson of FIDA, Plateau Chapter, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to mark the day, called for deliberate efforts to bridge the gap.
2019 theme for the International Day of the girl-child is, “Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable’’. The day is celebrated annually to amplify the voices of the girl child in a bid to improve on their quality of lives and rights.
Izam expressed worry that many girls were hawking instead of going to school, saying that they should also be sent to school like the boys.
“The girl child is mostly made right from childhood by the family to prepare for marriage, and there are many cases of forced marriages. Non-compliance with forced marriages by girls results in their being maltreated by parents and other family members” she said.
“We have many cases of forced marriages to the extent that girls of less than 18years are being forced into child marriage against their will.
“Neither Islam nor Christianity permit forceful marriage without the girl’s consent, but it happens to the point that if the girl refuses, she will be maltreated by family members’’ she explained.
Izam stressed that the girl child had equal rights with the male child under the Nigerian constitution, adding that the constitution was the norm and girls’ rights must be protected and respected by all.
According to her, Section 42 of the constitution states that no citizen shall be discriminated against either by sex, religion, etc. She, therefore, enjoined all citizens to treat both genders equally and comply with the constitutional provisions on the child right.