Importance Of Girl Education
Girls’ education is one of the most effective ways for ending poverty in developing nations. The benefits of their education are seen by individuals, their families, and throughout society. These benefits include:
-Reducing the number of babies women have;
-Lowering infant and child mortality rates;
-Lower maternal mortality rates;
-Protecting against HIV/AIDS infection;
-Increased number of women with jobs and higher earnings and;
-Benefits that last many generations.
Education for girls can have the benefit of delaying marriage and pregnancy for young girls. Instead of a girl getting married before age 20 and often suffering abuse by her husband, girls who attend primary and secondary school are more likely to have a say in who they marry. Girls who attend school also are able to use more effective methods of family planning and therefore have fewer and healthier babies. An educated girl and woman will have learned about HIV/AIDS and know many different ways to protect herself from getting the disease. Every year of schooling helps a girl make better decisions for her and her family.
Women who attended school often have healthier families. These women are more likely to seek medical help from clinics or doctors. Because they can read, literate women can understand a doctor’s detailed instructions and follow up for help if needed. These women also can read nutritional labels and provide their family healthy meals that promote growth and lower cholesterol. Education also teaches young ones the importance of keeping herself and her house clean and safe.
As their families are healthier, so is the mother. She is less likely to be a young mother since she stayed in school and will have better-spaced pregnancies that are healthy for her body. Education is amazing: give it to your girl child!
AISHA ALIYU OBALIM
Ese’s and failures of society Ese
Recently, the media was awash with the story of 14-year Ese Rita Oruru, a Bayelsa teenage girl who was abducted from Bayelsa state and taken to Kano under the guise of elopement by one Yunusa (aka Yellow).
The outrage the issue provoked was justifiable. But beyond that, it should not be restricted to the experiences of one girl. This is because, there are many other vulnerable girls like Ese out there. They suffer daily, mostly in anonymity and silence, besieged by manipulators who invoke the name of God or some other ruse to rationalize the evil they do.
The case of Ese, is a sad story that has exposed the fact that Nigeria is a country at war with its most vulnerable, weak citizens. It has also raise questions to how parents and the society in general are failing in providing parental guidance to children.
For instance, how did the young man who abducted Ese manage to pull off his crime—for a crime it was—in broad daylight, without anybody, civilian or uniformed, to stop him? How was it that several adults presided over the farcical conversation of the young woman without one of them pausing to ask, one, whether she was competent to voluntarily understand said conversion and, two, whether she understood the implications of what was to follow?
In an interview, Ese described the process of her ostensible conversion. “They took me to one place. Before they took me from the house to Kura, they put me in hijab, then we went to Kura. When we got there, they went to one place, and one old man came there and he would say something and they would say I should repeat. Then I would repeat. If the man said something again, they would say I should repeat and I would repeat just like that.”
Ese was subsequently made to become a Muslim with the name Aisha attached to her.
Whereas Nigeria is a religious free nation, one expect that no one should be made to undergo such a pathetic brainwash ritual after compelling him or her to repeat words they don’t or cannot comprehend.
Again, a mystifying dimension presented itself for true Muslims to take a deeper look at the humiliation which this youngman has brought on the entire practice of the faith.
While we blame the institutions for systemic failure that has exposed the likes of Ese and many more to danger, we must also look at the failure in parental responsibilities.
Aside from the kind of sentiments been expressed on the matter, it must be stressed that Ese’s parents also failed in their responsibility of protecting her. Ese’s mother operates a restaurant where Yunusa is said to have been a regular caller. The failure of the parents to have gotten a clue of what Yunusa was up to perhaps explains how parents are failing in providing guidance for their children but more concerned with making money.
More intriguing is the claim by Yunusa that Ese’s mother was aware of his intimate relationship with Ese.
On the other hand, Yunusa’s father, Pa Dahiru Bala simply told a section of the media that when he was alerted of the plan to come with a girl from Bayelsa to Kano he did not feel comfortable with the idea but the accused insisted that Ese who had become a Muslim, fell in love with him and wanted to marry. “I still warned him against coming with her”, he said. But is simply warning a child in that circumstance enough to exempt yourself from vicarious liability for a minor’s crime?
Yunusa is currently been arraigned at a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on a five-count charge of abduction, illicit sex and unlawful canal knowledge among others.
It is therefore, imperative that the trial be pursued to its logical conclusion to serve as deterrent to would be abductors for this act has gone on for too long. Ese’s odyssey is a tragic drama of abduction, mental exploitation, and sexual enslavement that should not go unpunished.
Aisha Aliyu Obalim
Need to tidy up the 2016 budget
Controversies trailing the 2016 budget undergoing scrutiny at the National Assembly are to say the least disturbing. Several ministers and heads of ministries, departments and agencies have disassociate themselves with the figures therein saying it differs from their estimates.
When the ministry of Education budget defense team was hosted by the senate committee, a startling revelation was made that not less than N10 billion was infused into the budget through the back door. The Minister of state for Education Prof. Anthony Anwuka and Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan could not immediately provide answers to questions posed to them.
At best the Permanent Secretary’s explanation was that she would need to take another look at the aggregate figures of the parastatals put together to find out what actually went wrong.
But the Higher Education Committee Chairman, Sen. Binta Masi Garba explained that the figures were typographical error from the office of the National Planning and Budget.
A member of the committee, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye querried the rationale behind the increase in only the budget of parastatals by about N10billion while the budget of universities reduced by as much as N16 billion.
In the ministry of Health for instance, the Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole told the Senate Committee on Health that he would not take ownership of the document since it was operating at parallel purpose with the intension and policy thrust of the ministry in 2016.
He stated thus, “We have to look into the details of the budget and re-submit it to the committee. This was not what we submitted. We’ll submit another one. We don’t want anything foreign to creep into that budget. What we submitted is not there. We have not reached that stage and we find the money there”.
He therefore urged the committee to discard the budget proposal before it and await a new estimate to be re-submitted assuring that the new proposal would reflect the programmes of the health sector for the year.
The minister also said State House Clinic to which N3.9 billion had been allocated in the budget is not under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.
A similarly situation played out during the ministry of information defence. The minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed openly disowned the N398 million inserted into the document which were meant for the purchase of computers the News Agency of Nigeria and Films and Video Censors Board.
Also, the Director General of NAN, Mr. Ima Niboro also expressed shock at the N230 million for the purchase of the item as captured under the capital votes in the 2016 budget for the agency.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Customs were turned back when the lawmakers noticed irregularities in the budget which gulped over N150 million.
Those irregularities problem prompted the National Assembly which had promised to pass the budget on or before 25th February have since recanted on that assertion saying, judging from the facts available to them and the surrounding circumstances, that date could no longer be sacrosanct.
While all this drama is lasting, almost everything in the country has been put on hold or forced to move with a snail-speed, at most. This has brought about untold hardship on the already weak and traumatized people and economy. Many have wondered while some people who were earlier fingered for presenting analogous version of the budget have not been called to question.
The time for the concerned authorities to wake up from their deep slumber and redeem the entire country from the looming chains of deprivations, want and excruciating poverty is now. We voted for change not chains.
Aisha Aliyu Obalim
Looking beyond federal allocation
Kogi State is no doubt blessed with abundant human and natural resources. For instance, the fertile lands and good climatic conditions make her a perfect destination for farming. Its capital, Lokoja, is the confluence point for two of West Africa’s largest Rivers, Benue and Niger leading to the state’s sobriquet as “the Confluence State”. Also, state has deposits of colonial relics such as Lord Lugard House amongst others.
Any sane mind looking at Kogi state will agree that it has all it takes to be one of the most economically viable states in Nigeria. But the reverse is the case as it known to be a civil servants’ state where about 80 percent of the working class are in the pay roll of the government.
Although successive governments made promises of salvaging the situation, nothing much has been achieved in that direction. The state has often depended on federal allocation without really looking inwards on how to explore the several resources that could generate her income. Consequently, there has been wide spread poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure amongst other with their attendant vices.
As Alhaji Yahaya Bello is sworn in as the Executive Governor of the state, he will be inheriting a lot of developmental burden. There are enormous backlogs to clear in all areas: education, health, agriculture, industry, water and sanitation, rural development, women empowerment, youth development, unpaid salaries, pensions and many more.
In view of the huge task ahead of him, it is imperative that the governor should not allow himself basking in the euphoria that he is the first non-Igala person to clinch the plump job. Instead, he should quickly take steps to unite the entire Kogites and assemble the best team to work with him because he cannot do the job alone. To achieve this, he must look beyond party loyalty and ethnic sentiments but instead consider merit because the task ahead is enormous. No one should pretend that Bello is coming with magic wand or with all quick fix solutions.
In the face of fallen oil prices in the global oil market, the need to look inward has become more expedient. Good a thing, the new governor has indicated that his government in line with the All Progressives Congress (APC) manifesto diversify the economy by improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Pay attention to agriculture and other sectors. It is however, instructive to state that he should be careful not to outstretch the limited resources by attempting to take on all the problems at the same time.
Therefore, the government must identify few strategic sectors that will attract priority attention and vigorously pursue them to logical conclusion. These include the provision of water, good roads and employment, especially for women and youth through agriculture and agro-allied industries and education.
The government should equally pay attention to improving on the environmental and aesthetics of the state. Tourism is one area that if properly harness could generate huge opportunities for employment.
Aisha Aliyu Obalim
War against corruption must be encouraged
Recent revelations on the alleged diversion of the $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase to the execution of the 2015 presidential campaign of the former President Goodluck Jonathan are to say the least startling. This is more worrisome when one recalls how some soldiers were sentenced to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram on the grounds that the insurgents were better equipped.
Although, there was already some awareness that some evil-minded people were profiting from the colossal hardship being generated by the Boko Haram insurgency; the longer it lasted, the better for them. Little was however expected that some heartless individuals would go further on their thieving devilish pastime to actually seize the money that was painfully set to prosecute the war against Boko Haram and divert same into their private pockets.
Prior to the action of the soldiers and subsequent conviction, some stakeholders particularly the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima had raised the alarm that the terrorists had more sophisticated weapons. The alarm created controversy in the polity as some Nigerians began to accuse the governor of disregarding the integrity of the army and the country at large with his claim.
But at last, Nigerians are waking up to the realisation that some few had decided to mortgage the lives of the military personnel, other security agencies prosecuting the war and indeed innocent civilians for their selfish aggrandisement.
In spite of the twists and turns in the war, the statements made by the former National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), was to say the least shocking. He maintained that he paid out, “under instructions,” billions of naira meant for the procurement of arms for our embattled troops to chieftains of the Jonathan-led PDP government. The list of recipients is like a roll-call of who is who in their hierarchy, a revelation of institutional criminality — acts of grand infamy.
If all these monies were properly deployed to fix our dilapidated infrastructure such as pothole ridden highways, building and equipping the dilapidated schools across the country, fixing power amongst others, the country would have been better off and the former President Goodluck Jonathan would have gained enough goodwill for his re-election.
However, for the fact that the henchmen of the former President chose this path, it is imperative that all well-meaning Nigerians must stand up to demand that justice is done if not for the country for the sake of all who lost their lives in the battle. It is therefore heart-rending that some Nigerians have chosen to close their eyes to the magnitude of the crime but are rather concerned with defending party affiliation. Worthy of note is the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party has urged the former President to speak up on the issue to save the party from the public odium the probe has generated.
While we commend the President on his avowed commitment to fighting corruption, it is expedient that the war be pursued within the ambit of the law.
Aisha Aliyu Obalim
Time to end discrimination against women in politics
There is no gain saying that the girl-child has for sometime not been given due consideration in the Nigerian state. From birth to pursuit of life’s ambition, she has been made to take the back seat; no thanks to the cultural inclination that the male child is the heir of the family.
However, the Nigerian Constitution acknowledges the equality of all citizens irrespective of sex. For instance, in chapter three (section 25), the constitution provides thus, “every person born in Nigeria before the date of independence, either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents belongs or belonged to a community indigenous to Nigeria is a Nigerian”.
Furthermore, the constitution allows citizens who have lived in a particular place for 10 years and above the right to claim indigineship of such a place and enjoy all privileges accruable to its members.
Sadly, all these provisions are been jettisoned. Consequently, agitations for elimination of indigineship in the constitution have remained unabated. Worse hit are women particularly married women who are been discriminated against for political appointments. Although women who have held positions of authority have proved their worth, not many including those in authority share this view.
Recently, this scenario played itself when indigenes of Kaduna state protested the nomination of Minister of Environment then ministerial nominee, Amina Mohammed Al-Zubair claiming that she was not an indigene of Kaduna state even though she is married to a Kaduna state indigene. This got many asking questions as to whether ministers are supposedly representing their states of origin or are to pursuing national interest.
It is curious to note that even senators from Kaduna state kicked against the nomination of the former head of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria giving the same lame excuse that she is not from Kaduna.
Citizenship is statutory a conferred status on people ready and willing to be identified, permanently, with a given country. If that be the case, the discrimination against women married to different places other than their places of birth is misplaced.
Going down the memory lane, Senator Daisy Danjuma who had represented Edo South senatorial district in 2003, at the National Assembly under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was said to have lost the ticket in 2007, owing to her marital status. Daisy who hails from Edo state is married to Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) from Taraba state.
Daisy is from a traditional home, her father being a Chief, means that even her marriage to a non-Edo person may not pose as a problem to her ambition. Despite the fact that she is known for her philanthropic gestures towards women and young girls which endeared her to lots of people, particularly women in her senatorial district, the issues came up and eventually affected her re-election.
While such conducts and utterances could be described as ignorant of the prevailing acts in the federal character commission regarding the status of married women seeking political offices, it is worthy of note that, women can both stand for elective or appointive positions in either their places of origin or marriage. This is what is done in other climes where productivity, competence and contribution to advancement of a society are placed paramount; over and above other primordial sentiments. The time to stop such practice against the women is now.