UNICEF official calls for improving girls' access to education in north Nigeria

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An official of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) called on Wednesday for improving girls' access to education in northern Nigeria, where there are a large number of out-of-school girls.

Speaking to reporters in Kano, a northern city of Nigeria, Rahama Farah, a UNICEF officer based in Nigeria, said there are currently 18.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, with about 60 percent of them being girls.

"Most importantly, you will need to know that most of these out-of-school children are actually from northern Nigeria," Farah said, adding there are barriers that affect girls' education.

"This situation heightens gender inequity, where only one in four girls from poor, rural families completes junior secondary school education," he added.

Gunmen attacks on schools recently in parts of the most populous African country have worsened the situation of girls' education, as these attacks had created an insecure learning environment, discouraging parents and caregivers from sending their children to schools, according to the UNICEF officer.

He said about 1.4 million girls are having access to education in the northern part of Nigeria in recent years because of an intervention project led by the Fund, but much is still needed to be done to improve girls' access to education in north Nigeria. 

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