YNaija Says: Every day is a #DayoftheGirl in Nigeria

All over the world, it is. But we do not feel like talking about the 1.1 billion young girls born into a world so unfairly prejudiced against them. #SorryNotSorry.

We’d rather talk about the 38 million girls who, in addition to having been born into a Nigeria that isn’t predisposed to enabling any child attain its most basic potentials, have also been born into a country that is disproportionately rich in a history of subtle and outright violences against the girl child, specifically.

Statistics from Index Media

Girls in Nigeria are birthed by mothers who were raised by their own mothers to look to the word for favours; and the more daintly and light headed they comport themselves, the higher their chances of being taken seriously – enough to possess such yards of wife material as to be able to bag themselves some husband.

Today, girls in the northernmost parts of Nigeria are born to be told what kind of education they are or aren’t entitled to. And that’s a lie because in the South too, they are educated enough to know that too much of the book stuff is no good if they intend to “find a man”. Every day that a Nigerian girl is told or made to feel she exists for the pleasure of a husband is a day of the girl child. So who is counting?

However simple the problems of the girl child, as presented above may seem, it’s been compounded by the various insecurities that she faces daily by just being Nigerian. No less than 11 million Nigerian children of school age are out of school. And according to UNICEF, 60% of these children are girls!

5 years ago, the United Nations figured it would be reasonable to set aside a date for the girl child; to spotlight the challenges she faces around the world. There are roughly 1.1 billion of them, all facing unique problems of their own, so why the hell not. This year, the focus is on empowering girls “before, during and after conflict.”

“Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence”, says the UN. But in the same amount of time since that day has been created by the UN, Nigerian girls in northeastern parts have been and continue to be susceptible to more risks of violence than has been (and can ever) be captured by any data. Boko Haram has exposed school girls and their parents to an inordinate amount of fear of violence – to their psyche, bodies and general existence – for just been what they are: innocent school girls. Talk about violence “before, during and after” conflicts.

Whatever the unquantifiable amount of violence the Nigerian girl child was already exposed to, it doubled in April of 2014 when close to 300 school girls were snatched by these horrible and deadly group called Boko Haram and as much as we’d have preferred it to be the case, the rest is not history yet. About 200 of the Chibok girls are still in captivity.

Everyday Our Girls remain with the beasts of no religion is a day of the girl child in Nigeria. Who’s counting?

And those are just the Chibok girls. There sure are several hundred more girls who get picked up randomly by Boko Haram and other bad people – for child trafficking, child labour in urban areas, rituals and what-not. All of these will be filed away in the unreported assaults and violence against the girl child in Nigeria folder along with the equally unreported cases of rape and molestation of young girls.

Earlier this year, young school girls who had just completed their school certificate exams were allegedly sexually assaulted by boys in their age bracket in broad day light and in Ikoyi, supposedly home to some of the most enlightened Lagosians. That story has died down without any real closure.

Every day that there is justice for the girls of Falomo High School and thousands of other Nigerian girls who have to pass through Yaba market daily, subject to humiliation by those they know and trust is a day of the Girl Child. WHO.IS.COUNTING?

As a matter of fact, every single day that a Nigerian girl, woman, “female” gets home safe, has access to education, social amenities, sanitary products and some safe space from misogynistic comments from family and friends in spite of all the odds stacked against her is a day of the girl child. And every a woman achieves something great and you feel the need to be effusive in your praise of her just because she is a woman is a day you should celebrate the #GirlChild.

And every day after that too. Because who is counting?

One comment

  1. Every girl child deserves proper education, No to gender discrimination…. yes to girl child education

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