The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called for free education for the girl child to ameliorate the social inequalities suffered by the female flock.
In a speech to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke said this was in conformity with the theme of this year’s celebration centered on “My voice, our equal future”.
The MOSOP President said Nigeria should give the girl child a voice and future by enabling access to quality education. He described as unfortunate, the destruction of the future for the girl child in Ogoni due to the years of extreme exploitation by Shell and our own government.
Nsuke said the living conditions in Ogoni were far worse than represented in the media. “At least sixty percent of Ogoni women above 55 years were widows and an estimated 20 percent of the population had no access to primary education or were dropouts from school” he said.
He noted that the lack of education and jobs constituted great disincentives and were weakening the capacity of women to make the best out of their potentials.
The MOSOP President called on the Federal Government and the Rivers State Government, in particular, to enforce existing legislation on girl-child education, rehabilitate dilapidated educational structures particularly the primary and secondary schools in Bunu Bagha, Khana local government area amongst others which happens to be the oldest school in Nyo-Khana but currently in a non-usable state.
The MOSOP President also lamented the high rate of child labour in Nigeria noting that the girl child have become more vulnerable to abuse due to child labour.
He regretted that the laws have been unable to protect the girl child from abuse.
Nsuke said “state corruption especially in the institutions that should protect citizens coupled with increasing and overwhelming social insecurity have made the girl child more vulnerable to abuse with greater difficulty to prosecute offenders”.
He further said “girl child education should be encouraged by making it free up to tertiary levels”
The MOSOP President held that the girl child was seriously disadvantaged and non-competitive and so needed special incentives to compete favourably with their male counterparts.
Nsuke also called on the Rivers State government to build a primary school for the Teenama community in Ken Khana, Khana local government area where access to basic education is extremely difficult due to absence of a school.
Finally, the MOSOP President urged Ogoni women to play a greater role as models in shaping the opinion of the girl child and encourage the younger children to embrace education.