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Make basic education compulsory – Girls Aint Cheap (GAC)

*Punish parents who breach education of any child

By Olajide Fashikun

Panelists at the maiden edition of the Girls Aint Cheap (GAC) “Talk Table” have called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to make basic education of every child in the nation not just compulsory but a punishable offence if any child is denied education, especially for the girl child.

Compere, Mrs Boluima Olusairo, Chief Mary Onyali and Mrs Vivian Nnamba
Compere, Mrs Boluima Olusairo, Chief Mary Onyali and Mrs Vivian Nnamba

This call was a result of a six-woman panel which took place in Abuja with Dr Vivian Nnamba, Hajia Rekiya Shehu, Prof Vivian Motomigan, Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi, Chief Mary Onyali and Mrs Ijeoma Obiajunwa making up the panel.

In his welcome speech, the Governor of the GAC, Mr Godwin Ogedegbe gave kudos to the vision of Mr Collins Chiemeze who founded the group. He charged every Nigerian everywhere to rise, support and defend the girl child not just to live but to lead. We have to do more for the girl child. She is to be helped to leave obscurity to prominence.”

He added that, “in many societies and communities the girl child is seen as a economic burden. She is married out as children. Nigeria is a key contributor to the child marriage menace. 28% of women face physical violence. 80.9million females in Nigeria are worse off than their peers in our societies.”

13 year old Blessing Yahaya victim of rape by her dad and Dorothy Njemanze
13 year old Blessing Yahaya victim of rape by her dad and Dorothy Njemanze

He revealed that on a monthly basis the Talk Table shall be issued based. We have scheduled the following issues for discourse: Mother to Daughters; Diary of the Abused; Beauty is Beast, and Loud whispers.

Frances Ojoh rendered the second stanza of the national anthem to give the audience a wonderful feeling of a great day ahead of them. Her rendition and silky voice were outstanding. She returned to captivate her audience with a special number. The hall remained awed and gave a standing ovation. She was simply put velvety.

Maiden Talk Table: In their various contributions, the panelists brought to fore some personal content to the issue for the maiden edition of the talk.

Mrs Ijeoma “Mama SDG” Obiajunwa: admonished every Nigerian, especially the girls and women to ensure that whatever business you do, make sure you link it with the SDG so that as a nation we can meet the Agenda 2030. Make profit, give back to the society. If we do not individualise the SDG, we can’t take or meet the target. Think big, dream big. Take a goal and go after it. We need heroes and heroines with the big heart. This requires doing the extra beyond the ordinary.

Frances Ojoh arresting the audience with her velvety voice
Frances Ojoh arresting the audience with her velvety voice

Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi: I have three grand children. I had my challenges as a growing girl. I grew up with a dad I so loved who bowed to pressures from his peers. He had two daughters from my mother. He sent my mother away to marry another woman in search of a boy child. He realised later. He made restitution to us and our mother.

For instance, I am the first medical doctor in my community. I mentored other girls. My mirror tells me whenever I look at it that I am a very unique person despite my personal imperfections. Each of us must learn to encourage and support someone near us. Make a difference everyday (MADE) in accordance with the slug of the Girls Aint Cheap.

Prof Vivian Motomigan: My assignment on earth is to make the youths of Africa fulfill their greatness. I came out from the royal family of Kosoko in Lagos. I found greatness as a 14 year old girl. I knelt down to greet the wife of the Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria in a typical Yoruba girl fashion. That changed my life. She took me to her country where I went to school.

Fujah Ahmed, the 'Amala Extra' boss was on ground too
Fujah Ahmed, the ‘Amala Extra’ boss was on ground too

I am the first Ph.D in Political Science from Bayero University Kano. One thing I make today’s youths understand is respect is one value that take you to highest heights in life. Hold our values high. Don’t replace our values with western values. It will distinguish you out.

Hajia Rekiya Shehu: The girl child is a special creation from God. The message has to be taken to every home. We have so many cries from girl children everywhere. We must all work together to turn these cries to joy. Many girls drop out of school to be forced into marriage. This has to stop. Many cannot even attend school. Many are victims of rape.

We must work to enforce the governments of the country to make basic education not only compulsory but must be punishable by anyone who breaches the policy. I also encourage every advocate of this course and cause to develop a high level of patience between themselves and with others.

Mrs Boluima Olusairo and Judith Maren...ran the show with glee and glamour
Mrs Boluima Olusairo and Judith Maren…ran the show with glee and glamour

Chief Mary Onyali: Sports is the highest and most reliable plank to give girls and women freedom. Most of us who excelled in sports are from extremely poor homes. Every woman in sports has been proven rescued their family from the pangs of poverty bringing honour to their nations in the process.

As part of the media to return value to our society, myself, Mrs Chioma Ajunwa, Chief Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin, Funke Oshonaike and Mrs Blessing Okagbare-Iteguonor set up the ‘Let’s go, Girls!’ project to bring one million girls into sports in three years.

It is our wish to work with the ‘Girls Aint Cheap’ to deliver this task across communities in the country. It is very possible with your support.

Vivian Obiajunwa: If your dream does not involve serving other people around you, you need to change that dream. I grew up in the northern part of Nigeria where I witnessed a high quality of girl-deprivation. They are

Barrister Fatima Bamali extolling GAC for good organisation
Barrister Fatima Bamali extolling GAC for good organisation

forced to marry before they are physically and mentally ready. Many of them don’t go to school.

This planted the seed in me to aspire to grow the desire to help women conquer the battles before her. Our girls need to be made or helped to believe in themselves.

Some of the prime guests who graced the occasion included the duo of Good Fathers Foundation in Messrs Omioha Nnedu and Tokunbo Olorundami. Others included Barrister Fatima Balami, Mr Fujah Ahmed, Ambassador Dorothy Njemanze, Barrister Jamila Issa, Mr Charles Olufemi Folayan, Mr Young Pearl, Miss Blessing Yahaya (a rape victim by her dad when she was 10 years of age).

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