By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Sultan of Sokoto , Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has said that Northern traditional rulers and governments would convene a high powered session to fast track the conduct of a realistic census to determine the number of Out of School children in the region.
Similarly, Abubakar noted that over time, there has been gross misrepresentation of the region especially the core north axis , hence it is mandatory for its people to send their girl children to school for the highest qualification.
” The Sultanate Council will synergize with the Sokoto state government for the enactment of a law that will compel parents to send their school age children to school and failure will be punished”, he said.
This he stated would enable the region come out with accurate data especially on the girl child as the most affected gender.
” We will know the number of Girl child both of enrolment, drop out and out of school respectively.”
However, the revered leader disagreed with statistical records indicating that Sokoto is ranked with about 2million OOS children.
” I disagree with the figure. OOS children cannot be more than 200,000 in the state”, he pointed out.
Abubakar who spoke in Sokoto Friday during an event organised by the Sultanate Council to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child said primary stakeholders would be actively involved including professionals to be able to identify the number of OOS girls.
“All northern states government will be in collaboration in the initiative tailored at setting a purposeful plan of action that will encourage a sustainable approach to discourage disparity and to improve on the girl child education as well enrolment”, he stressed.
The religious monarch added” the essence of organising this year’s day is to bring the girl child on the world stage for all to know that their love for education and school especially in this part of the country should not be doubted.
” If we could have and produce an authority like late Nana Asma’u, a prolific writer, educationists and social development expert, who will say we don’t allow our girl child to acquire education”, he rhetorically asked?
Abubakar who further gave his words of encouragement to schooling girl children of FOMWAN for their remarkable contribution at the occasion to be resilient in furthering their education, stressing that they were assets to their parents, school, state and nation in general” I want to see you excel to become medical doctors, professors and eloquent resource persons in your chosen careers”, while disclosing that the Sultanate Council would introduce side educative activities as quiz competition and awards of prizes for performances to deserving girl child in subsequent commemorative moments beginning from next year.
” We will come up with a programme ” Nana Asma’u Day Quiz Competition” to actualise this plan “, he stated.
In her presentation, Professor Sadiya Omar Bello of the Centre for ausa Studies, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto said education has no tribe, religious nor gender barriers.
She decried that 60% of OOS children were in northern Nigeria” out over 13 million OOS , 7.93 million are girl child which raises concerns”, the Professor in Hausa exclaimed.
According to her ” Sokoto caliphate was founded on scholarly mission by the late Othman Bn Fodiyo who came as an educationists and reformer with advise to allow and give women and the girl child equal opportunity to acquire and impart knowledge.
” Danfodiyo was revolutionary on the girl child education and encouraged the right of women which produced 40 women scholars. Every school age Nigerian( male and female) has the right to equal opportunity to be educated”, She stressed further.
Also, Dr Larai Aliyu Tambuwal who made a presentation on Menstrual Hygiene, explained that a girl child should be abreast with the basic knowledge of self hygiene during the biological process of discharging blood and mucus.
” They should know the right materials to use when observing the monthly occurrence like sanitary pad, access to good and hygienic toilet facilities, water and other disposable materials.”
According her” it is necessary to prevent contracting infectious diseases and possible transmission to others. That is why the education of girl child is fundamental for self, society and general human survival.”
In the same vein, Dr Tambuwal called on female parents whom she described as primary stakeholders to keep an eye on their girl children for proper menstrual hygiene discipline, adding” especially to the educated women.”