Worried about the vulnerability of the girl-child in urban slums of Nigeria, medical experts have called on the government, corporate organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to deliberately and consistently for them.
The call was made at a One- Day Sexual Reproductive Health Community Forum for Out -Of- School Girls in commemoration of the International Youth Day organised by United Nations Population Fund Youth Participatory Platform in collaboration with Lagos State Government in Lagos.
The Medical Officer, Health, Agege Local Government Area, Dr Akintayo Adebayo, said Nigeria needes to empower the girl child if it hopes to develop as a nation.
"We must deliberately and consistently create safe spaces for them to express themselves and explore available opportunities. Youths are investment for the future development or retrogression of a nation.
"Youths are the resource with an abundance of potentials for the development of not only this nation but the world and humanity. Unfortunately they are confused and need direction. So as adults we need to guide them."
Also speaking, the UNFPA Youth Participatory Platform Coordinator, Mrs. Elizabeth Williams noted: "Young people become vulnerable especially when they don't have access to information on sex and that is why we as an organisation have a Centre here where people can have access to information and send it.
"When a woman has information she is empowered. When a young girl is educated about her sexual reproductive system she has the large skills she needs like being certain to communicate and negotiate appropriately would be able to take full decision on their health even when they find themselves at risk they are able to get out of such problems as a result of necessary skills that they have."
About 200 of the girls were drawn from different wards in Agege Local Government Area. The girls learned various lessons on HIV prevention, basic and social life skills and other personal hygiene issues.