By Gabriel Ewepu & Maxwell Tochukwu
ABUJA– THE wife of the Governor of Kebbi State, Mrs. Zainab Bagudu, disclosed that the rising cases of out-of-school female children would not reduce if common issues like personal hygiene and general learning condition remain a challenge in school environments.
Speaking at a ceremony in Abuja, to commemorate Procter & Gamble’s ’25 years of impact in Nigeria,’ Bagudu also called on the federal and state governments, as well as private individuals to increase their social investment programmes, stating that this would go a long way to reduce the gap in the number of out-of-school children.
She stated that unless government at all levels address the underlying challenges confronting the girl- child across the country, bridging the gap in the number of out-of-school children, especially girls, would remain elusive.
She maintained that the learning conditions across public schools require urgent attention, stressing that the level of poverty in the country is directly linked to the challenges faced by young girls.
Bagudu, who thanked P&G for supporting girl-child education in the country, especially dealing with issues like menstrual hygiene management, noted that Kebbi State is currently making efforts in the same direction.
“We have six million girls that are out of school. This is one of the issues that take them out of school. The level of poverty is so high that some girls cannot afford to buy N100 sanitary pad,” she said.
Also speaking, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said education, particularly in the areas of science and technology, remained a key focus for the current administration.
Ahmed said the initiative by the company was in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to provide proper education and skills for young girls.
In his own remarks, Managing Director, P&G, Gorge Nassar, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the Nigerian economy, adding that investment in social challenges remained a priority for the organisation.
He stated that the company would continue to provide superior products that would satisfy the needs of consumers across the country.
The Brand Director for the organisation, Tolulope Adedeji, added that the company’s Always in school initiative for girls, has equipped millions of young girls within the ages of 10 and 12, especially with necessary information on hygiene.
“This has resulted in reduction in the rate of absenteeism in school and increment in their confidence level.”
The event, which also marked a partnership pact with Mercycorp is part of measures to extend the scope of the company’s reach in the area of bridging the gap in the number of out-of-school girls.