The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a regional peacebuilding organisation, has expressed concern over the continuous abuse of girl child in the country.
In a statement on Thursday, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, WANEP board chair, said the spate of conflicts across communities in the north is having negative impact on girls.
She spoke in commemoration of the 2019 international day of the girl child with the theme “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable”.
“Children particularly girls have been kidnapped, abused, used as machineries to convey weapons for the insurgents and as suicide bombers in densely populated urban centres,” she said.
“Community early warning reports validated by media reports have recorded devastating impact of the use of girls as suicide bombers in the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria.
“Major highlights include June 17, 2019 detonation of explosive at a community football viewing centre in Konduga, Bornu State by two girls and a boy which left 30 people dead and 40 others injured. This incident brings the number of children who have been used as human bombs to five, sine January 2019. In 2018, 48 children were used in suicide attacks with the number of girls placed at 38 within communities.”
The board chairman said issues like early marriage, female genital mutilation, education inequality, gender-based violence, low self-esteem, human trafficking, poor health and sanitation are some of the numerous problems still pose challenges for girls in Nigeria.
She said the problem of out-of-school children in the country has led some girls to be involved in prostitution.
“In Bornu State, feedback reports from the communities have revealed that majority of the out of school children particularly girls have taken to prostitution to survive with untold hardship and gender based violence,” she said.
” This has left a large number of girls traumatized and unable to speak out on the violence. If not nipped in the bud, this ultimately translates to a future with a higher number of women being illiterate, compared to men.”
Among other recommendations, WANEP said state and non- state actors should “partner with women groups and women focused civil society organisations in addressing the numerous problems that confront girls to bridge the gap to their dreams.”