Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organisation, WTO, on Friday urged increased investment in the education sector to ensure the quality of education to school-age children, particularly girls.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said this in Abuja on Friday at a summit with the theme: “Girl Child Now: Nurturing Our Women-Nigeria’s own wealth “.
She described investment in the education of the girl child as a ‘smart investment’, saying that it fosters inclusion of women in economics.
Gordon Brown, UN Envoy, Global Education, said the summit reinforced the importance of education for the girl child.
Mr Brown affirmed his support for a social contract between Nigeria and girls to enable them thrive and not just to survive.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation, WHO, said that investing in women and girls education would enhance societal prosperity and equality.
Ghebreyesus expressed optimism that education for girls and women would go a long way in reducing early marriage and other forms of Gender-Based Violence.
Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, reiterated the commitment of the Buhari-led administration to improving the welfare of women and girls through education.
Mrs Tallen, who described the girl child as a representation of the continuation of the cycle of live, said education for a girl child was education for the society.
She therefore called for mass enrolment of women and girls in schools to create a sustainable economic future for them.
Ulla Mueller, Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), called for a continued conversation between parents and relevant stakeholders to promote girl and women education.
Ms Mueller said that education was important to successful and prosperous society especially for women and girls.
Dr Adeleke Mamora, Minister of Science and Technology, expressed the need to support girls and women to achieve their potentials to the fullest.
Mr Mamora urged the dismantling of societal prejudices that tend to subjugate the girl child impeding her access to education.
“The societal monsters that subject women to cultural and mental subjugation must be confronted.
“Government’s social contract forbids discrimination in many ways,” he said.
The minister said there was a strong chord between health, education and wealth which women and girls must be provided access to.
He explained that the mission of his ministry was to move the Nigerian economy from resource based to knowledge based.
Dr Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to adequate funding for safety of schools in Nigeria.
Mrs Ahmed said that they had included in the National planning for Agencies and Ministries to be gender focused.
According to her, the government is working with the private sector to create fiscal incentives to promote girl child education.
Dr Ayoade Alakija, Founder Emergency Coordinated Centre, ECC, WHO Special Envoy, urged women and girls to always be bold and courageous.
Mrs Alakija said that such boldness would only be possible with foundational education as support.
The summit is organised by Emergency Coordinated Centre, ECC, to address the plight of women and girls in the area of educational marginalisation.