Outrage Over Continuing Child Marriage in Nigeria

Photo credit: Nestlé

There has been outrage since the Nigerian Senate voted on July 16th to allow girls to marry without age restrictions. Social justice and women’s rights advocates have decried the decision, arguing that instead of child marriage protections there need to be advancements in girls’ education. The United Nations Population Fundnotes that 20% of Nigerian girls get married before 15 and 27% of married girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are in polygamous marriages. They also note that “only two per cent of 15-19-year-old married girls are in school.”

According to Maryan Wais, chairperson of the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, “Child marriage, from available statistics, ultimately happens the efforts of these young adolescents from acquiring an education, as sooner than later, they find it difficult to combine the onerous responsibilities of being a wife and mother, with schooling.” Bisi Fayemi, the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, called for support from feminist groups stating, “I am not only disappointed in the decision by the Senate. As a mother, I am ashamed, I am unhappy and I am pained that our senators, who also have female children, will vote for child marriage.”

Media Resources: All Africa 7/25/13; Daily Post 7/24/13; All Africa 7/22/13

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