“He loves her and he wants to marry her. However, if you educate the girls and make sure that they finish secondary school and have skills before they get married, they would not have eight children, they would not accept domestic violence, and they are more likely to stop their husbands from having a second wife.” -Sanusi
The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, speaking in New York earlier this week expressed his option as to what he considers appropriate for SDG growth in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern areas of the country. According to him, focusing on educating the girl child is the key.
While advising President Muhammadu Buhari, northern governors, and other Nigerian stakeholders on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly (UNGA) in New York he said;
“If I were to advise governors in the northwest and the northeast, which goal should they focus on? It’s one, and it’s a subset of one; just educate the girlchild,” Sanusi said.
According to him, there is a statistic trend in the North which may result in doubling its population every 20 to 25 years, an increase which if not controlled, will hinder the government’s SDG plan.
“I mean look, we talk about this technical economic issues of industrialisation and power and so on. Take the north, for example, we’ve been growing at 3.4, 3.5 percent per annum. That means the population in northern Nigeria has been doubling every 20 to 25 years.
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“In that period you’ve had desertification, Lake Chad has lost its water resources, the resources have shrunk and the population has increased. You are not going to solve that by having the government spend money.
“Address cultural attitudes as to what age do girls marry, how many children do girls have, how many wives do men have, it’s not money — it is not about money.”
According to TheCable News report, Sanusi is of the belief that educating the girl child will have a positive ripple effect on society. Which will curb high fertility rate, polygamy and even malnutrition.
“If you want to address those things, you also have to say what is the quickest way to address them. You can spend your time getting religious scholars and traditional rulers to go and be campaigning, but you don’t preach to someone who wants to marry a second or third wife and then have him listen to you,” the emir added.
“He loves her and he wants to marry her. However, if you educate the girls and make sure that they finish secondary school and have skills before they get married, they would not have eight children, they would not accept domestic violence, and they are more likely to stop their husbands from having a second wife.
“So you deal with high fertility rates, you deal with out-of-school children because if a woman is educated her children go to school, you deal with malnutrition.
“Malnutrition is not about money, you have people who will actually harvest beans that they need, come to the city, sell the beans, go back and be drinking Coca-Cola and eating bread, and thinking that they have arrived, because they simply don’t know that the beans were far more useful to them than the Coca-Cola. Educating the woman helps with nutrition.
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“You get to so many of the goals through a single target, if we devout our resources to say we want every girl in northern Nigeria educated to 1. senior secondary school level, and 2. we have to ask ourselves how come we are producing thousands of graduates who are not employed? Is our educational system functional? We have to look at that entire curriculum; the girls who come out and the boys who come out should be able to earn a living.
“That way, you deal with extreme poverty, demographic growth, sustainability, nutrition, and you deal with so many of the goals.”