Patience Jonathan seeks legislation for girl-child education

By The Citizen

Dame Patience Jonathan has called on the National Assembly to enact legislation that would guarantee the education of the girl-child.

Speaking while declaring open a two-day national conference to celebrate 100 Years of the Nigerian Woman, which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos Thursday, she said  Nigerian women ought to be grateful to the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for giving them their place of pride in governance of the country.

. The theme is 'Achieving 50/50 by 2020s.'
Patience Jonathan  said it has become pertinent for the National Assembly to facilitate the legislation of laws that would further give fillip to the rights of women in the country. According to her, the education of the girl-child and the promotion of gender equality are crucial to the development of every society.

Pouring encomiums on the administration of Jonathan for breaking record by placing women in positions crucial to Nigeria's development, the First Lady said: 'Nigerian women must continue to show appreciation to the administration of President Jonathan because, for the first time in the history of Nigeria since independence, women are being brought into the limelight.

'The success or failure of this administration rests on the shoulders of Nigerian women, based on the kind of portfolio women hold in the present administration. Women should know that this is their administration and they must work for it to succeed.'

She further noted that Nigeria has achieved 31 per cent of women participation in governance as the present Federal Executive Council (FEC) has 13 female ministers out of 42, while there are six women special advisers out of the 18 special advisers the president has, a record 33.3 per cent.

She encouraged Nigerian women to follow the lead of past heroines who had contributed immensely to the freedom and growth of the country, stressing that despite the progress recorded, Nigerian women must continue the fight against 'poverty, gender based violence, discrimination against the girl-child as well as negative traditional practices,' which, according to her, may undermine the gains so far achieved.

Acknowledging the achievements of the heroines past, such as Moremi, Queen Amina, Madam Tinubu and the likes, Dame Jonathan said: 'We could not have achieved development in Nigeria without these women. But no one gets anything without asking for it. We must work hard to achieve greatness for Nigeria, because despite the successes that we have made, we cannot say we have arrived.'

Earlier in her welcome address at the conference, the Minister for Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina, noted that women should continue to push for equity in the nation's polity. She craved women-focused reforms in the polity, saying, 'it is time to stimulate Nigerian agencies to review polices that will realise gender equality in the country.'

At the conference which aimed to celebrate women who had in one way or the other set milestones in the country and create a baseline to further stimulate women to take strategic place in the development of Nigeria, women called for abolition of forced marriages and discrimination against the girl-child both within the family and the society. They also called for death sentence for rapists.

Other women at the conference include the wife of the Vice President, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Alooma-Mukhtar, represented by Justice Mary Peter Odili, who chaired yesterday's session of the conference. Others were: the acting President of the Appeal Court and Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, the sponsor of the two-day conference.