Primate Okoh urges parents to help girl child learn, lead, decide

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The Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has enjoined parents to help their girl child learn, lead, decide and thrive, because empowering girls is essential to achieving gender equality.

Okoh, who was represented by the Venerable Syrerius Okoriko, Diocesan Education Secretary, said this at the 12th Valedictory Service of Anglican Girls Grammar School Apo, on Saturday in Abuja.

He said that when it comes to girl child education in Nigeria, a lot of things would be said.

“However, there was no guarantee that any of these words would ever reach the ears of those who can make a change.

“We hope that the situation with girls’ education will improve in the nearest future, so that girls can feel like intelligent members of society.

“Women need to speak up on the importance of girl child education. Girls should not feel lesser because of their gender.

“Their achievements have to be celebrated as much as boys’ are, while more female teachers should be employed.

“You might be surprised, but even such a small measure as this can improve the situation with girl child education in Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, when girls have someone to look up to, they would be encouraged to work harder and achieve more. They would see a positive example of what education could give them.

Okoh said there were still several issues with the girl child education that needs improvement.

The cleric said, “education is a life-giving, it is holistic, and it addresses the socio-economic needs of the people, saying it is empowering and giving hope to girls.”

According to him, it had long been known that gender is an issue, but awareness and understanding were faint.

He, however, said that once the church start acting in this area; people would began to take note and see positive outcome, awareness and understanding would grew.

The Primate admonished the outgoing students and the school in general to remain disciplined with the fear of the Lord, so as not to be swayed off by the currents and challenges of life’s pitfalls.

He said that with complete faith and confidence and trust in God they would overcome challenges of life.

Okoh said that the school has created pathways for girls that are now leaders in the society and which he also hope for the graduands.

He commended the principal, the teachers and non – teaching staff, asking them to keep the flag flying.

Earlier, the Principal, Mrs Estelle Ozigbo, in her address of welcome, said the reputation of Anglican Girl’s Grammar School is very high because of the independent nature of bringing up a girl child the in school, the school style is unsurpassed.

Ozigbo said improving girls’ educational levels has been demonstrated to have clear impacts on the health and economic future of young women, which in turn improves the prospects of their entire community.

She said that the learning and play environments were vital for supporting and extending a child’s development.

According to her, learning and development in the school and the Anglican Church is organised in a way that it encourages girls to explore and learn safely.

She said that the school is versioned to provide a model that would arrest the decay in the society.

“This is in keeping with the tradition of Church Missionary Society (CMS) schools of Old.

“We strongly believe that sound education should be able to facilitate moral rebirth, spiritual balancing and the raising up of God fearing future leaders.

The principal urged the outgoing students to be good ambassadors of the school by behaving as children of the Lord.

In her remark, the Head of Humanity, Mrs Aderonke Taiwo said that every day, millions of girls around the world were denied their basic human rights simply because they’re girls.

Taiwo, who also the Chairperson Graduation, urged the students not to tarnish the good image of the school because, it is reputed for high moral standard and highly qualitative education.

The senior prefect of the school “the head girl” Miss Loto Oluwatobi in her valedictory speech appreciated the authority for giving her the opportunity to serve.

The senior perfect called on the Federal Government to introduce the laws that protect the girl child.

“This includes laws that punish those who abuse girls, as well as laws that punish parents for not sending their daughters to school.

“Nigerian policymakers should seriously consider the issue of the girl child education in Nigeria in order to ensure a better future for the whole country,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the high point of the well-attended valedictory service was the gifts the school presented the students who excelled in their studies from JSS1 TO SS3.

The school is a mission school belonging to the Anglican Communion Diocese of Abuja, with the most Rev. Akinola as the proprietor.

The school took off on the Sept. 3, 2001 with a total number of twenty three staff. On the first day of school being Sept.7, 2001, a total number of six students reported as pioneer student.