Ezekwesili Calls On US to help rescue Chibok Girls

Oby Ezekwesili, former Nigerian minister of Education has called on the United States government and the world at large to try their possible best to assist Nigeria to rescue the abducted Chibok girls.

Speaking today at an event organized by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General in Lagos to commemorate this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, Ezekwesili condemned the claim by the federal government that the failure of the US to help rescue the girls so far, indicates that there is little or nothing the country could have done differently.

She described this as a “call out” and charged the US government to stand up to this call and help rescue the girls alive.

Ezekwesili, who is also the senior economic adviser of the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative at Open Society Foundation, urged all females, especially children to think and act globally.

“Your competitors are the children in other parts of the world, especially the developed ones and not those within your neighborhood or nation,” Ezekwesili told the children and women present at the event.

Speaking on why she has remained steadfast in the campaign for the safe return of the school girls kidnapped from Chibok, Borno State, Ezekwesili said, “I would feel totally without credibility if we ignored 219 girls and carry on as if they never existed when all they did was to answer our clarion call for girl-child education.”

She added that she neither wanted to stop her advocacy for girl-child education or promote the idea that females have to make a choice between being safe and getting educated, hence her campaign for the safe return of the abducted girls.

Bisi Olateru- Olagbegi, Executive Director, Women Consortium Nigeria, WOCON, noted that with a total of 10.5 million children out of school, Nigeria has the highest number of dropouts worldwide with female dropouts numbering up to 5.5 million.

Olagbegi said Nigeria is faced with misplaced priorities as the $9.3 million used in arm deal can equally be diverted to the education sector. She then called on the government to facilitate safety measures in schools and encourage parents to enroll their children in schools.

At the event, which was held at the PAS Multi-Purpose Room, of the American Embassy, Victoria Island Lagos, Ajibola Adeoya, Ajjibade Adetayo, Oluchi Njoku, all of whom are members of the United States’ Embassy Information Resource Centre, IRC gave a rendition of their poems while participants were also treated to film footages depicting the plight of the girl child and females in general.

Other guests who spoke on the importance of empowering females include, Oprah Benson, Bayo Omoboriowo, a photographer; Adebayo Alonge, a health care entrepreneur; Ewos Iroro, editor of Travel and Business news; Michelle Okudia, programme officer of Oando Foundation, Kayode Sanni also from Oando Foundation and a host of others.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 on December 19, 2011 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child in order to address girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

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