Published On: Tue, Jun 16th, 2015

Child Marriage Increasing In Nigeria – UNICEF


As Nigeria joins the rest of Africa to celebrate this year’s Day of African Child, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that child marriage is increasing in Nigeria.

It quoted the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS 4) 2011, which shows that there is a five per cent increase in the number of girls married before age 15. It was 13 per cent in 2007 and that MICS 2011 indicates it is now 18 per cent.

The agency said this year’s celebration of the Day of the African Child, which has as it’s theme, “25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa,” is timely.

In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja, UNICEF’s communications specialist, Geoffrey Njoku noted that child marriage denies children the attainment of their human rights as children.

“It erodes the child’s rights to life, good health, education and dignity. Studies link child marriage to maternal mortality, school drop-out, virginal fistula (VVF) condition and malnutrition among others.”

According to him, UNICEF believes that investments in girls’ education and getting more girls’ into school delays marriage and impacts the incidence of child marriage.

UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough said that “Girls’ education is vital because educated girls become better mothers, have fewer and healthier children and more empowered.”

She noted that an educated girl will have a better life, as will her family, “every additional year of schooling delays age at marriage”

According to her, UNICEF is helping the government address the challenge of ensuring that all children especially girls have access to quality education.

Gough disclosed that the Girls’ Education Project, funded by the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) and implemented by UNICEF, aims to get one million more girls into school by 2020, while at the same time improving the quality of education.

“The project is helping to train female teachers through the female teachers’ service scheme and deploy them to rural areas, where the predominance of male teachers deter many parents from sending their girls to school.”

Another intervention under this project, she says, is the conditional cash transfer scheme which provides cash to girls to help defray some school-related costs like textbooks, uniforms and others.

2,096 total views, 3 views today