President Muhammadu Buhari has identified the successful implementation of the Universal Basic Education Programme, Girl Education Project and Safe School Initiatives, as factors responsible for the increase in girls’ enrolment and retention in schools.

Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said Mr Buhari stated this at a UN high-level meeting commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women.

In a video message to the virtual meeting, convened by President of the UN General Assembly 75th session, Volkan Bozkir, in New York, the president said: “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 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 begin the implementation of our Safe School Initiatives across the country.”

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.

Gender-based violence

On combating gender-based violence, the Nigerian leader said that awareness of 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.

Mr Buhari disclosed that Nigeria prioritised vulnerable groups, including women, in the provision of medical and social assistance to mitigate the socio-economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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.