By Asmau Ahmad
United Nations Resident Coordinator to Nigeria, Mathias Schmale said in Abuja the global body “is committed to working closely with state governors to advance education of the girl-child”.
Schmale said this in an interview on the sidelines of the tenth anniversary speech by Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace, while in Nigeria.
According to him, Malala’s story could be connected to every girl-child that deserves the opportunity to acquire education and change her life.
“Education is primarily every state government’s responsibility. We accompanied Malala to meet with governors at the Governors Forum.
“She impressed on 33 of the governors there, how important it is that they give every girl-child the fundamental opportunity and that they invest in education.
“So, I see it as my job to work closely with the UN Country team, UNICEF, UN Women, UNESCO and many others to accompany the governors on this journey.
“We hope that many of them have heard this and will be able to support the girl-child, and translate the call into a reality. “
The country representative described Malala’s story as that of someone who never gives up and advised people to emulate her.
“For those privileged to listen to her, they would find that she is a story of resilience, coming through almost being killed and then fighting for girls’ rights to education.
“What has impressed me most, not just today but yesterday as well as we travelled to Borno, was that she said it was not just about her or her story.
“I think governors have the commitment of the UN to push those willing in government at all levels, to turn Malala’s words into meaningful reality.
“I think we need to stay optimistic of Malala’s come back, as an example of someone who in extreme hardship hasn’t given up.
“That is what we should expect – that none of us gives up. At the UN we will accompany those in power willing to change the world, and encourage them to do so.”
Yousafzai was at the UN House, Abuja, alongside the UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed.