Vice President celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child with Child Advocates from Abuja Schools at the State House.

In a statement signed by Laolu Akande, SSA Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo congratulated Blessing, a Junior Secondary School student who made an excellent result and said it is really a wonderful idea to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. “I think it is a very important way to celebrate it, first to celebrate the great success of Blessing, whom I am told had the best result in the Junior Secondary School Examinations.  I have had a chance to look at the result, she seemed to have gotten A’s in all of the 18 subjects except one”.

The Vice President reiterated the message of equality, saying male children are not more intelligent or more resourcesful than their female counterparts. “I think what success demonstrates is exactly the point that we have been making and that you all have been making; there is absolutely no difference in terms of intelligence, capacity and resourcefulness between a boy child and a girl child. I think for all of us the men, who have gone to school, we have all been beaten by girls several times in schools, so you would only be hiding your head in the sand if you were to suggest that girls were any less intelligent and resourceful than boys”.

“In university, my first year, in fact the very first person to get a First Class in the  Faculty of Law in the University of Lagos was actually a married woman with 4 children. Not only was she female, she was married with children. Thereafter, we have seen excellent examples of that. Only those who, for some reason or the other would want to deceive themselves, argue at all that there is any difference of any kind, especially in intelligence even in capacity”.

He stated that in our society today, we have almost come to accept that there is a difference between the way girls are treated and the way boys are treated because there are all sorts of historical, cultural type of prejudices and discriminatory practises.

“But I think that we are getting over that, especially with you young people, who are advocating even right from now, about the way that girls should be treated and equality of treatment. These days people argue about who is a feminist and not. I think it is something that shows the level of awareness there is all over the world today. I am really excited to see that you girls are advocating the rights of women and children and there is a great deal of work that can be done”.

On a lighter note the Vice President recalled that his my first year in University, the first person to get a First Class in the Faculty of Law in the University of Lagos was actually a married woman with 4 children.

Prof. Osinbajo used the medium to urge many of the young boys to also advocate, especially the rights of girl. “We had the unique opportunity of doing so when the Ministry of Women Affairs launched what was described as the ‘He–For-She” campaign. I thought that was very creative. These are young men, boys, advocating girls’ rights. That, I think, is one way of ensuring that there is understanding across board especially with young people as they grow up”.

He thanked the delegation for have setting aside the day the celebrate the girl child even as he reiterates government effort on rescuing the remaining Chibok girls. “Of course as you know, we have had the unfortunate experience of having the Chibok girls abducted. Some of them have returned and are back home but there are still some who are out there and we are working every day to bring them back home. It is very important for us that those girls are returned because anyone who has either a friend or a child recognises that girls are more vulnerable than men especially when they have been abducted by men older and stronger than themselves and held in captivity for so long”.

He finally challenged men all over the world on moral conduct towards the girl child. In his words, he said “This is one of the reasons why we are advocating that this kind of conduct must be met with the greatest possible kind of objection and force. We shouldn’t accept it, we should condemn it for the wrongful and cowardly act that it is, and do our best to give succour to the ladies who have suffered this particular injustice”.

It may also interest you to know that the returned Chibok girls have enroled and already started studying. According to Vice President “As of today, those who have returned are studying; they have already started foundation courses at the AUN and we are happy to report that they are doing well, and are excited about the new opportunities that they have. They are starting their lives anew and afresh with a great deal of enthusiasm. We are hoping and praying that the rest will come back home soon”.

Human rights activists all over the world are raising a voice for the girl child. Malala of Pakistan, the youngest Nobel Laureate in the world is one such persons who is not deterred by the challenges and opposition she faces even after being shot.

At home in Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo urged Nigerians to use social media, the internet for continuous advocacy. “There are so many girls in various parts of Nigeria and various parts of the world, who don’t have the opportunity you have of going to school. Your advocacy is very important, whenever you are on social media, the internet, talking about these things, and drawing attention to them”.

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