The Kaduna State Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Baba, has revealed that poor women in some rural communities in the state now give out their daughters to bandits in exchange for money.
Baba who disclosed this at the 22nd meeting of the National Council on Women Affairs held in Abuja between Wednesday and Thursday, said it was important to address the issue of women giving their daughters to bandits for money as it was affecting the girl-child.
The Commissioner who spoke as a panellist on the girl-child development and school safety, also said parents who offer their daughters as househelps and hawkers are contributing to the rate of out-of-school girls in the country.
“According to the data from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 60 percent of the over 10 million out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls,” Baba said, while expressing concerns over the attitude of parents towards ensuring the safety of their children.
“We have talked about insecurity but we also have a little thing to blame. What about these informants? They are from us, they inform the bandits because they have made it a business.
“I have seen women even giving their children to the bandits, to go and sleep with the bandits in order to make money. This has been confirmed and it is quite wrong,” she said.
“If you look at our streets, you will see young girls who should be in school, going about with their little bowls and the most disturbing thing is that the children have now become the breadwinners of the family.
“Even apart from insecurity, we have these children on the streets that hawk and engage in all sorts of menial jobs. Our young girls were being taken from their community, from their states to another state to go and become baby nurses, they cook and sweep.
“This also stops them from going to school apart from the insecurity we are talking about because that means that the child is not secured. If a child becomes the breadwinner of a family, what is the essence of the parents? What are the responsibilities of the parents?
“These are all things we need to sit down and look at deeply. How does it affect the girl-child? How does it also affect the family collectively? Whatever intervention we are doing, we also need to learn from each other.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we keep our children safe. Safety is very key both in school and at home. With the recent insecurity, it is now a wake-up call for us to be more vigilant as government, parents, community and religious leaders. Security is everybody’s business, without security, children cannot go to school,” the Commissioner added.