The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday disclosed that Nigeria accounts for 15 percent of out-of-school children in the world.
This was also it stated that about 7.6 million girls in Nigeria many from the northern regions remain deprived of the opportunities to go to school.
The UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Ms Cristian Munduate disclosed this during an event organized to commemorate this years International Day of the Girl in Kano.
Ms Munduate who raised alarm over the worrisome figures however maintained that it is not just a statistics but a wake up call on the authorities to take steps to reverse the menace.
In her words, “Nigeria, alarmingly, accounts for 15% of out-of-school children worldwide. Yet only a mere 9% of the poorest girls have the chance to attend secondary school. This is not just a statistic….it’s a wake-up call.
“The truth is that 7.6 million girls in Nigeria, many from the northern regions, remain deprived of these very opportunities. Their seats in classrooms remain vacant, their dreams momentarily deferred. This leaves them vulnerable to early childbearing, with a soaring adolescent fertility rate.
“Kano ranks second in the number of out-of-school girls in Nigeria, revealing a harsh disparity in the access to education.
“Since its inception by the United Nations in 2012, the International Day of the Girl Child has aimed to spotlight and address the challenges girls globally confront. Today, more than ever, we need to emphasize the transformative power of education, a tool that not only creates opportunities but actively breaks cycles of poverty.
“However, amidst these challenges, we find glimmers of hope. Proven models like the Girls’ Education Project 3, supported generously by the people of UK and UNICEF, have assisted states including Kano in sending 1.5 million girls back to school in just two years. This is the path forward….a path where every girl child in Nigeria receives an education.
“As we observe the International Day of the Girl 2023, my plea is straightforward. To our government, communities, traditional institutions, parents, stakeholders, and every concerned Nigerian – let us pledge to build a Nigeria where every girl’s dreams are within her grasp.
“While education is the foundation, our girls need more. By investing in healthcare, skills training, and diverse opportunities, we can catalyze their growth into pillars of our society.
“Together, let us champion the rights and empowerment of our girls. Let’s dismantle barriers, extend mentorship, and curate an environment where they are poised to thrive.
“UNICEF remains committed in its mission. We will continue our engagement with leaders, partners, and stakeholders to amplify our investment in the welfare of our girls, particularly as they face the brunt of conflicts, natural disasters, and the ever-looming threat of climate change,” the UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Ms Cristian Munduate however maintained.