By Our Correspondent, Bauchi
A Non-Governmental Organisation, under the aegis of High-Level Women Advocates (HiLWA), has called on all female children in Nigeria to report any abuse against them without fear or intimidation.
HiLWA is an NGO that works with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria to assist the girl-child to possess relevant education qualifications in the country.
Representing the NGO, Mrs Hauwa Jubril, spoke to newsmen in Bauchi on the sidelines of a discussion programme organised to mark this year’s Children’s Day.
The theme of the programme was, ‘Unite to Reverse the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children.’
She said any girl-child who had been abused should not be shy to report it to enable justice to be served.
She observed that keeping such abuse a secret only made it more pervasive in society.
“We have been telling the girl-child that if they are abused, they should not be shy, they should come out boldly to tell us.
“Let them speak out, it is their right. By hiding it or covering themselves in the room, it is not going to solve the problem, it is only going to end up killing the child.
“If they tell us, we will now be able to fight for their rights, but you cannot be there covering yourself in a room and expect somebody to solve your problem.
“If they come out to say it, we will fight to the last even if it is going to be our last drop of blood, we are going to fight for them,” she said.
Jubbril also expressed the NGO’s resolve to call on all the mothers in the country to stop concealing any form of abuse, especially rape, adding that some parents believed a rape victim may not get a suitor in the future.
Mr Raphael Aiyedipe, Education Specialist, UNICEF, Bauchi Field Office, said the programme would allow adolescents to identify how COVID-19 had affected their participation in quality learning in the rural and urban areas.
He said it would also bring to the forefront of discourse, learning challenges during COVID-19 pandemic, especially how it affected adolescent girls specifically.
Aiyedipe further said the programme would allow documentation and presentation of demands from the children.
“It will also seek government’s support in reversing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their education,” he said.
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The programme was organised by the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in collaboration with UNICEF, Bauchi Field Office and HiLWA.