President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commissioned the newly completed Ministry of Women Affairs Headquarters Building in Abuja with a pledge to end child marriage and boost girl-child education across the country.
Speaking at the event, the president noted with concern the increasing number of out-of-school children in the country, saying that the Federal Government would sustain on-going efforts to address the menace.
According to him, it is the collective duty of all to ensure that mothers of today and tomorrow are educated, encouraged and empowered.
Also, the Minister tasks the movie industry to tackle child marriage.
‘‘Our quest is to ensure that concerns of women, children, and other vulnerable citizens are given prominence and ultimately addressed.
‘‘A key priority of our government is the development and implementation of social inclusion and economic sustenance policies. Our determination is to ensure that economic growth and prosperity are felt by as wide a circle as possible.
‘‘In particular, we are laying great emphasis on education of the girl– child. The high level of young girls who are out of school or unable to complete school due to socio-economic pressures is disturbing and must be addressed.
‘‘The launch of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage, 2016 – 2021 has been the first critical step towards increasing children’s access to quality all-round education and enhancing the retention of the girl-child in our schools, ’’ the President said.
He enjoined the Ministry to continue to champion and coordinate all matters relating to the plight of Nigerian women and the most vulnerable citizens, assuring Nigerian women of his continued support and determination to see that the Ministry delivers on this mandate.
The President commended the ministry and other relevant government agencies for positive contributions in reducing human trafficking incidents and maternal mortality.
‘‘I expect this Ministry to maintain its lead coordinating role on these, and other women’s related matters working with State Governments as well as our regional and international partners,’’ he said.
In her remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, thanked the President for recognising the role of women in nation-building, and supporting the completion of the headquarters of the women ministry.
The minister appealed to the President to appoint more women to leadership positions in his government, assuring that her ministry would double efforts to improve girl-child education in the country while advancing the welfare of vulnerable persons and women.
Nigeria News Agency reports that goodwill messages were delivered at the event by an 11-year old child, Naomi Oloyede and the Country Representative of the UNICEF, Mr Peter Hawkins.
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