Nigeria is witnessing an increase in girls’ enrolment and retention in schools, President Muhammadu Buhari declared Thursday at a UN high-level meeting commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women.
A statement from the Presidential Villa signed by Spokesman Femi Adesina disclosed that a video message to the virtual meeting, convened by President of the UN General Assembly 75th session, Volkan Bozkir, in New York, conveyed President Buhari’s reaction that attributed the success to the implementation of the Universal Basic Education Programme, Girl Education Project and Safe School Initiatives.
”Our Government is vigorously implementing the Universal Basic Education Programme, which enhances girl-child education at the grassroots. ”Furthermore, the Girl Education Project has contributed to the marked increase in girls’ enrolment and retention in schools as well as the guaranteed full productive capacity for future generations of women.
”To ensure the security of school children, especially girls in the North-East of Nigeria, we have ratified the ‘Safe School Declaration’ and begun the implementation of our Safe School Initiatives across the country,” the Nigerian leader told the gathering in which Head of States and Government participated.
The President noted with satisfaction that through the Safe School programmes, his administration had ensured improved security through the provision of necessary learning materials for educational institutions. On combating gender-based violence, the Nigerian President said that awareness on a Sex Offenders Register was on-going to discourage and better manage cases of violence against women.
”We are also expanding existing temporary shelters and building new ones in locations where they do not exist, to cater for victims of abuse and provide them with needed rehabilitation. ”In our quest to address the menace of trafficking of our women and girls, Nigeria is working in close collaboration with relevant partners, to rescue, rehabilitate and re-settle rescued victims of trafficking,’’ he said.
To mitigate the socio-economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, President Buhari disclosed that Nigeria prioritized vulnerable groups, including women, in the provision of medical and social assistance. ”In the last year, over one million Nigerians have been enrolled into National Social Register of poor and vulnerable households to enable them to access needed social assistance.
”Under the National Social Investment Programme, we have commenced cash transfers and distribution of food items to individuals and families across all States in Nigeria as palliatives to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic. ”Our administration believes that the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms are critical to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
”It is for this reason that I urge the international community to support the mandate and operations of the Human Rights Council in its quest to strengthen institutions in relation to gender equality and empowerment, as well as the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls,” he said.
President Buhari urged the Member States to develop additional strategies to improve the quality of life for women and girls, pledging that Nigeria would redouble efforts to improve access to productive resources for women and girls as well as continue to ensure the protection of fundamental rights.
”Our administration is mindful of the necessity to empower women and girls for the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the African Union Agenda 2063; as well as the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action,” he said. The President also used the occasion to congratulate Member States on the giant strides achieved in the implementation of the outcomes of the 4th World Conference on Women over the last two decades.
He noted that the twelve areas of critical concern identified in the Beijing Platform of Action, 25 years ago, have been instrumental in the progress so far recorded in advancing issues of women and girls globally. He, however, stressed that sustainable development would remain impossible if women and girls are denied human rights.
‘Nigeria acknowledges that the achievement of full human potential and sustainable development is impossible if women and girls are denied their human rights and opportunities. ”Since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration, Nigeria has made concerted efforts to ensure women’s participation in all aspects of nation-building, through quality education, access to economic resources, as well as promotion of leadership roles at all levels.
‘Our administration remains committed to eradicating poverty and enhancing growth and development for women and girls. In order to address all forms of gender-based poverty, we have initiated programmes such as: Tradermoni, Marketmoni and Farmersmoni under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. ”These programmes are particularly aimed at providing zero interest and collateral-free credits to petty traders, artisans and farmers, many of whom are women and girls,” he said.
Reiterates calls for rededicated international engagement in support of sub-regional efforts to raise the $50 billion USD required towards recharging the Lake Chad.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday outlined measures by Nigeria to reverse biodiversity loss, expressing concern that most indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are facing extinction. President Buhari spoke in a video-message to the virtual 2020 Biodiversity Summit, held on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, in New York.
The President noted that Nigeria, like other countries, had a wide array of rich and invaluable national heritage that include an impressive network of wetlands, wildlife and forestry resources. Regrettably, most of the indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are becoming endangered and facing extinction. ”To reverse this situation, we have developed the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan as an enabler for integrating biodiversity considerations into sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, plans and programmes at all levels of government.
”We are reviewing our biodiversity-related laws and developing shelterbelts across 11 States in the country. In addressing biodiversity loss, we are implementing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme in Ogoniland. ”The on-going clean-up is another landmark in the ecosystem restoration initiative of our administration. It is aimed at improving livelihoods of communities in the South-South Region of the country,” he said.
The Nigerian leader told the summit convened by the President of the 75th UNGA , Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, that his administration had also approved a new National Forest Policy in July this year to ensure continuous socio-economic development. The President explained that the new policy would provide optimal benefits to the people and government of Nigeria in a sustainably managed environment. He added that the Nigerian government was also considering the development of a National Mangrove Restoration project to deliver qualitative livelihood benefits to the Niger Delta region.
”Furthermore, we are currently implementing a national program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. ”This programme is aimed at discouraging deforestation, conserving already existing forests, enhancing carbon stock and mitigating climate change impact. ”We have also facilitated the designation of Finima Nature Park in Bonny Island, Rivers State as the 12th Ramsar Site of international importance.
”The government is equally incorporating biodiversity into tourism sector through a national programme targeted at combating illegal wildlife trade and trafficking in two pilot protected area sites, namely: Gashaka-Gumti National Park; and Yankari Games Reserve,’’ President Buhari said. According to the President, the programme to combat illegal wildlife will contribute to the growth and development of a vibrant nature-based tourism sector that prevents extinction of threatened species.
On Nigeria’s international obligations, President Buhari pledged that the country would expedite the process of accession to both the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation. He also promised that Nigeria would meet its international obligations on the Nagoya-Kuala Lampur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
”Concerning ocean governance and marine biodiversity protection, Nigeria is among the first twelve countries to sign onto the 30 by 30 Global Ocean Alliance. ”Accordingly, we have identified two viable sites for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas to help in the protection, conservation and management of both marine and coastal biodiversity resources. ‘Leveraging on the Strategic Action Plan of the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria is spearheading sub-regional biodiversity action to mitigate insecurity, provide jobs, boost agricultural output, food security and reduce poverty.
”Towards the delivery of our biodiversity aspiration, Nigeria has concentrated on the provision of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Protocols adopted under the Convention and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements into national environmental policies and programmes,” he said. President Buhari also used the occasion to reiterate the call for rededicated international engagement in support of sub-regional efforts to raise the $50 billion USD required towards recharging the Lake Chad.
Expressing Nigeria’s support for the development and implementation of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, building on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and lessons learnt from the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, President Buhari called for alignment of all national, sub-regional and regional biodiversity ambitions with all Internationally-Agreed development agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
”In order to ensure that no country is left behind in meeting the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, Nigeria enjoins advanced economies to support developing nations with capacity building, technology transfer and technical assistance. ”I firmly believe that traditional knowledge, innovation and the application of nature-based solutions are plausible steps to drive the biodiversity agenda,” he said.