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Maryam Begel, the chairperson of the committee on women affairs of the Bauchi State house of assembly, on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 revealed that female students in some schools in the northern Nigerian state were being withdrawn to engage in menial jobs to generate capital for their marriage.
Mrs. Begel made this disclosure at an interactive session where she said that 60 girls in one particular secondary school in the state reported such practice.
“I had an interactive session with 60 girls of a particular tertiary school in Bauchi state and what I gathered from them was shocking,” she is quoted as saying.
“They complained that some parents were in the habit of withdrawing their daughters from school when they reach JSS two or three.
“They said such parents initiate their daughters into engaging in menial jobs to generate funds that would be used in buying items preparatory to their marriage.
“The girls were so disturbed and were lamenting that a lot of their colleagues have had their education either temporarily suspended, or completely terminated, on such grounds.”
Begel, who once served as a Child Protection Officer with an international non-governmental organisation, ‘Save the Children’, lamented that such action by parents was inimical to the development of the Girl-Child at a time campaign was being intensified to encourage the education of female children.
Speaking on the reluctance of most Northern state governments to domesticate the Child Rights Act, Begel blamed this development on those that started the campaign for its application.
She said, “From the beginning, the effort at explaining the content of the document was scanty as a lot of people had not been adequately sensitised.
“Most of the contents of the document are also backed by our religions and tradition, for example, Right of child to education, good health and humane treatment.
“Alongside the rights enshrined, are also obligations. The campaigners however ignored the obligations and harped on the Rights, thereby giving a negative perception of the document.”
She said that the document can be domesticated to tally with traditional and religious demands, but added that such move is too late because the negative impression created in the minds of most people, is already deep-rooted.
“As it is now, no political office holder or lawmaker in some Northern states of this country will be willing to talk about the document,” the lawmaker said.
“In fact, you dare not touch the issue, even with a long stick, otherwise you kiss goodbye to your political career.” (NAN)