Action Aid Nigeria, said yesterday that 75 per cent of girls in Nigeria were married off before the age of 18.
Deputy Country Director of the organisation, Mrs. Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, made the remark in Abuja at a two-day conference on the “Social Protection of the Girl-child.’’She said 100 million girls in the country stand the risk of early marriage within the next decade, if the trend continues.
Charles-Monwuba, who spoke on “International Perspective on Child Marriage” said education remained the key to stopping early marriage.
She said girls married off early often failed to maximise their potentials in life, as they ended up confined to carrying out domestic chores and at risk of life threatening diseases.
The Deputy Director stressed that children especially the girl-child deserved the right to education and all other human rights.
“To ensure that girls are kept in school there are international instruments required for children which includes; universal declaration of human rights.
“Right to education, ensuring an inclusive, equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
“According to UN Population Council of 2013, 75 per cent of girls in Nigeria get married before they attain the age of 18.
“100 million girls under the age of 18 will marry in the next decade if the current trend continues,” she said.
The Deputy Director added that there were societal misconceptions that had contributed to teenage girls dropping out of school.
She stated that there was false impression on the ability of the girl child and religious practices that perceived marriage as the ultimate for the girl child.
According to her, some of the odds faced by the girl child when married off early in life include “the higher risk of physical and emotional violence.
“The girl-child will be faced with Vesico-vaginal Fistula, VVF, disease and she is confined to domestic chores because she is not allowed to make decisions in the family.’’
She recommended that equal rights among girls and boys should be promoted as well as quality free inclusive public education for both sexes in the country.

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