FG kicks against early marriage for girl child

The Federal Government has called on Nigerians to protect the girl child and end child marriages and other forms of Gender-Based Violence in the country.

The government also pushed for the domestication of the Child Rights Act in the 36 states of the federation to pave the way to end child marriage.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, stated these in Abuja during a one-day meeting between the ministry and civil society organisations working on ending child marriage in the country.

The programme was supported by Ford Foundation and the Development Research and Projects Centre and the CSOs Technical Working Group in Nigeria.

The Director of the DRPC, Dr Stanley Ukpai, said the decision of the Ford Foundation to support the Federal Government to end child marriage through building the capacities of the CSOs in Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal was necessary to ensure regional efforts to end the menace.

He challenged the participants to come up with more robust, sustainable and applicable solutions to eliminate the menace of child marriage in Nigeria.

Tallen said, “All Nigerians should protect the girl child by working to end child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence as a noble cause needed to safeguard the future of the Nigerian girl child.

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“We are determined to protect the right of the girl child through working with partners and communities to end child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence in Nigeria as a strategic decision of the government to promote, protect and place the girl child to attain her potential in Nigeria.

“The Federal Government, working with other African countries, is determined to end child marriage in view of the serious threat it poses to the development of the girl child in the country.

“As the national strategy ends this year, this collaboration is key to come up with a common front to ensure that the Child Right Act is domesticated across the 36 states of the federation to pave the way to end child marriage.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa, said the meeting was organised to deliberate and come up with ways to tackle the menace driving child marriage in Nigeria.

According to her, such measures will identify key strategies to address the gender inequality, social and economic, and health drivers of child marriage in Nigeria.

She called on all NGOs working on ending child marriage and other forms of GBV to ensure that they registered with the ministry to ensure the strengthening of collective efforts to save the girl child.

The co-chair of the coalition of CSOs working to end child marriage, Kolawale Olatusin, said it was imperative for Nigerians to change the negative socioeconomic and cultural norms that promote child marriage in society and work together to increase children’s access to quality all-round education.

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