The Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen says the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was a setback on efforts by the government to increase school enrollment of children especially the girl-child.
She stated this in Abuja during a media conference on plans by the Ministry to commemorate this year’s National Children’s Day on the 27th of May, with the theme: Promoting Girl-Child Education for Sustainable Development.
According to her, the lockdown accompanied with the closure of schools and other social activities had exposed the girl-child to all forms of violence and could affect girl-child education.
“These issues will further widen the gender gaps in education and lead to increase in all forms of violence such as sexual, physical and emotional exploitation, early and forced marriages, child trafficking and child labour,” Mrs Tallen said.
The minister, appealed to parents to ensure their children returned to school as soon as academic activities commence, to bridge gender gaps in line with the SDGs 4.
Mrs. Pauline Tallen called on the Northern governors’ Forum to find a lasting solution to the plight of Almajiris.
The Minister explained that “Apart from hunger and starvation, the Almajiris are saddled with the inhuman treatment of transporting them to their states of origin in trucks meant to convey cargo, the trauma of being rejected by their own state government is painful, shameful and unacceptable,’’
In commemoration of the 2020 World Menstrual Health Day, the minister stressed the need to protect females from effects of poor menstrual health and hygiene management to enable them realize their full potential and contribute to national development.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Milen Kidane, expressed commitment toward providing necessary services during the pandemic as well as ensuring that the Almajiri children were transferred back to their states to reunited with their families.