ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), a Non-Governmental Organisation in partnership with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Ford Foundation has again taken its campaign to nine communities of the Kuje Area Council in Abuja, canvassing for the girl-child education as a means to ending early marriages in the council.
Alhaji Abdullahi Suleman Sabo, Chairman, Kuje Area Council on Tuesday at a Town Hall Meeting of the various leaders in the area stressed the need to do away with societal practices denying the girl child a right to life.
Sabo, who was represented by Mr Yakubu Nagarta, Secretary of the council, said the council through the social welfare division had been involved with both local and international NGOs to strengthen the capacity of the people.
He said the partnership had given birth to the Child Right Implementation Committee (CRIC) comprising of stakeholders at the local level.
” It is pertinent to note that the need to revisit the aforementioned collaborations is eminent with a commitment to addressing these social ills in our communities for sustainable and proactive measures.
“The council is hopeful and will do everything in its power to ensure adequate protection of the right of Kuje child as we look forward to partnering with ActionAid and other organizations to domesticate the principles as adopted by Nigeria.”
Similarly, Hajiya Saadatu Shettima from the NHRC said failure to train a girl child bring about negative results in children, women, families and communities at large.
Shettima noted that early marriage of the girl child give rise to high maternal mortality and morbidity, low income and as well wide spread misery among women and girls.
” Nigeria is faced with so many challenges and it is time to reduce many of these harmful practices affecting our children.
“There is an increasing need especially now to create awareness and sensitisation programmes to end child marriage and all the associated ills.
“There should be emphasis on girl child education because when you train a girl child you train the society.
” Our tradition today has to be relegated the girl child to the background and we must change this,” she said.
She, therefore, called on parents to endeavour to put their girl child into school saying doing this will mean helping the family in the long run.
Also, Mrs Oluchi Uzodimma from the FCT Child Protection Network (CPN) said the required minimum legal age for marriage under the Child Rights Act was 18 years.
Uzodimma added that parents who go against this law and give their girl child into marriage before 18 were liable to punishment under the act.
She, therefore expressed concern that child marriage is mostly common in the North East and North West of the country, the trend she said needed to be looked into.
According to her, as of Mat 2017,12 states in Nigeria, 11 of which are the northern states has failed to domesticate the child rights act in their states legislation.
However, the community leaders which constitute religious leaders, traditional leaders, security agencies, market women and others therefore resolved to take the message to their various communities pledging to advocate early education while ending early marriage.
The nine communities within the council visited are Shukuku, Sabo, Kiyi 1, Kiyi 2, Buga, Koulu, Kusaki, Bamshi and Chibiri.