By Marie-Therese Nanlong
For almost five years, the security situation, especially in northern Nigeria, has been a source of concern to government and residents.
The situation, despite the security agencies rising to the occasion, seems to deteriorate by the day as churches, mosques, police stations, army formation, public buildings including schools, markets and other government property are persistently torched.
People, especially the girl child and women, are not spared as they are abducted, bullied and intimidated.
To complement government and security agencies’ efforts in combating the problem, different groups have undertaken programmes to help the people to stay safe.
The latest of such programme is the gathering in camp of over 2,000 young girls from the 19 states of the North and the FCT to imbibe in them security tips which will help them stay alert and prevent being abducted.
The camp, organised by the Girls’ Brigade Nigeria, Northern States Council, is aimed at training them on how to identify enemies and stay out of harm’s way.
The girls are camped at St. John’s College, Jos in a move to also empower them economically and socially.
Addressing the girls whose ages range from five years and above, the Girls’ Brigade Nigeria President, Northern States Council, Mrs. Binta Dodo, lamented the persistent trauma the girl children and women are going through in the region recalling the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok, Borno State.
Dodo called on the federal and state governments to prioritize girl-child education in the country while addressing insecurity and social vices in the northern region.
“The wave of insecurity in the North has claimed the lives of several women and children, many of them abducted and deprived the opportunity for education but the Church has been able to put on ground training for young girls on how to identify enemies and empower them economically and socially for development in the North,”she said.
“I call on all of us to pray without ceasing for the peace and unity of Nigeria. This event was meant for all states of the North but four states are absent due to insecurity.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Plateau State Girls Brigade Nigeria, Mrs. Vou Choji, said many girls do not seem to understand the complexities of their gender and parents seem to have handed over the training of the girl-child to schools and friends but the Church is determined to correct the mistake.
She said, “We are all witnesses to the fact that the girl-child today is the target and most vulnerable to all sorts of vices, such as child labour, child abuse, hired prostitution, rape, abduction among others. We need to train them to protect themselves.”
She explained that womanhood had been de-humanized but the camp which is an annual event brings together young girls of the ages of five to 18 and adult women to train them physically, inculcate spiritual values and groom them to be God fearing people.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Olivia Dazyem, urged Christian women, especially mothers in the Northern to inculcate lasting values in their children to make them resist terror.
The Commissioner charged the girls to use the opportunity provided in the camp to learn the ways of the Lord, sharpen one another’s faith, engage in personal and group evaluations for positive transformation of their lives.