Zuriel Oduwole, Nigerian-American teenage education advocate and C&I Leasing Plc’s (C&I Leasing) global ambassador, has lent her voice to the passage of a bill that seeks to end child marriage in Mozambique.
The bill, which is awaiting assent by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, seeks to prohibit marriage of children under the age of 18, between children and adopts measures to end existing premature unions, with punishments ranging from eight to 12 years in prison, and a fine of up to two years.
In a statement on Sunday, her management team said Zuriel’s long-time advocacy for girl-child education was instrumental to the unanimous decision made by Mozambique’s national assembly in passing the bill.
After a recent visit to some schools in Mozambique, the C&I Leasing ambassador had requested a meeting with Nyusi to make her case for girl-child education even more personally, a request that was granted in less than a day.
Zuriel, according to the statement, believes that signing the law would be the game changer that would ensure gender equality and the “emergence of a productive womanhood within the country and continent’s human capacity for development”.
“Zuriel epitomizes the powerful voice of an educated girl, and the evidence of the need to ensure all girls across the continent and the globe are free from life’s discrimination of education, opportunities and personal development, so the world can fight its battles for growth and development with two hands, instead of one,” the statement read.
Commenting on Zuriel’s advocacy work, Andrew Otike-Odibi, managing director, C&I Leasing Plc, said the company is committed to the girl-child education project, especially as this resonates with its core values of Fairness, Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence and Safety (FIRES).
“At C&I Leasing Plc, we believe that education is a vital right of humans and more vital for girls in the recent era as it grants them access to economic opportunities, thereby helping them exert a positive influence in their households and communities,” he said.
“We are proud to be associated with a young woman who has lent her voice to a laudable cause that will impact on the lives of millions of young children in Mozambique, giving hope to millions of others in Nigeria, Africa and around the world.”
In 2014, C&I leasing, custodians of the Hertz franchise in Nigeria, had unveiled Zuriel as its brand ambassador with the company providing transportation whenever she is in Nigeria and Ghana.
However, this partnership has evolved to C&I Leasing providing support for Zuriel on her work with female children empowerment through education.