As the World marks the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child, the Ministry of Women Affairs in Cross River says it will, in line with its mandate, develop a database for all girls.
Commissioner for the Ministry, Hon. Edema Irom, disclosed this during the event held at the Women Development Centre, Calabar.
“We shall develop a database of all the girls in schools, ranging from primary up to higher institution so that when we are planning even for palliative, they would be captured appropriately.
“It is part of our mandate, you cannot plan without data, it will help us plan for girls, so we will get a data bank for women, girls as well as cooperative societies run by women.
“We will ensure that every community in Cross River has a women’s organisation, that way it will be easier for palliative among other things accrued to women to get to the grassroots,” Irom said.
On the rising cases of trafficking on the waterways, the Commissioner expressed worries that the victims were always girls and children for sexual exploitation, a development which the United Nations has always frowned upon.
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She informed that her ministry will embark on advocacy visits to the Navy and other sister security agencies to seek collaboration, in order to check the trend.
Saddened by the activities of parents who refuse to divulge information on sexual abuse against their children, Irom rhetorically asked, “How do we talk of the future if we fail to address the now,” adding that, “the challenge is not in the abuse but how the said abuse is addressed.”
Applauding the governor, Prince Bassey Otu and his wife, Rev. Eyoanwan Otu for their roles in reclaiming the Senator Rose Oko Women Development Centre in Calabar, the Commissioner explained that henceforth all women’s events in the state will be held at the said centre.
“This Centre will come alive this Christmas season, ready-to-wear materials will be sold here, so I urge women to get their stands here to showcase what they can do,” Cross River Women Affairs Commissioner remarked.
The wife of the governor, Rev. Eyoanwan Otu, represented by Dr Comfort Oko, called on relevant stakeholders to join in investing and inspiring girls to dream big while striving for greatness.
“In Cross River, we recognise that investing in girls’ rights is investing in the very core of our collective prosperity, it is our duty to create an environment that nurtures their growth and empowers them to become leaders who will shape our future,” the wife of the governor said.
Consultant to Cross River Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr Oriri Ewa, during an exposition of this year’s theme, “Our time is now, our right our future,” reasoned that the girl child is honourable and not vulnerable.
Ewa maintained that every investment done to a girl child remains a clear indication of what the child will become, hence the need for the presence of fathers in subsequent girl child events, to enable them to key into their investment, confidence and career development.
Other speakers including the wife of the Speaker, Cross River House of Assembly, Mrs Nelly Ayambem, Commissioner for Social Welfare, Dr Margaret Ene-Ita and Deputy Speaker, Cross River Children’s Parliament, Etim Kaghini-nse Osika, identified girls as priceless jewels and vessels who must be guarded jealously, if they must impact on the future.
The trio sued for support for the girl child through kits for menstrual hygiene, sex education as well as other financial and moral interventions.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of a poem on the girl child by eight years old Awesome Ubong Sam, head girl and grade 4 pupil of Springfield Junior School, Ballantyne Street, Calabar, as well as an advocacy walk from the centre to Efio-Ette junction and back.