The Speaker of the Anambra House of Assembly, Mr Uche Okafor, has advised parents to provide the girl child the opportunity to harness and realise their full potential in life.
The speaker gave the advice in his goodwill message in Awka to commemorate the 2020 International Day of the Girl Child on Sunday.
He described the theme of the celebration: “My voice, Our equal future” as apt and encouraged every girl-child in the state to remain confident and focused in the pursuit of their goals in life.
He admonished parents and government to create an enabling environment for the girl child to occupy her rightful position in society.
Okafor urged parents to pay priority attention to the future of their girl child because of her potential as a future mother.
He warned parents against exposing the girl-child to negative cultural practices and hawking during school hours.
According to him, such actions often affect the moral and academic disposition of the child.
He restated the commitment of the legislature to always make good laws meant to eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child in the state.
Okafor lauded the efforts of the Wife of the Governor, Dr Ebelechukwu Obiano, to improve the socio-economic status of the girl child in Anambra through quality education and skill acquisition.
He urged mothers and other well-meaning indigenes to join hands with her to create a better future for the girl child.
Okafor urged community leaders and other social agents to prescribe severe punishments for those who maltreat or endanger the happiness, security and safety of the girl child.
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Mr Godwin Ezeemo, appealed to government at all levels to take the welfare and security of the girl child seriously.
Ezeemo said in an interview with NAN that “the girl child all over the world is demanding a life free from gender-based violence, access to health, skills, recognition and investment as leaders of social change.
“We need to make laws to reassure our girl-child how much we truly care about giving her a voice in the political space and career,” he said.
He said that although some progress had been made in ensuring the girl child grew and developed in good health, she still battled with early marriage, rape and other challenges.
Mr Christian Mbachi said that the right of a girl child to inheritance and decision-making process on issues affecting her should be respected.
Mmesoma Chiadikaobi, 18, canvassed for policies that would allow the girl child the liberty to freely and regularly speak on issues that affect her wellbeing outside the international day celebrations.
“A girl child should be able to discuss freely with her parents on which course or relationship she wishes to follow without undue parental or societal interference,” Chiadikaobi said.
The day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and promote girls’ empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights.