The Coalition of Civil Society of Nigeria on Ending Child marriage has attributed poor policies framework and non implementation as challenges to ending child marriage in the country.
The Co-chair of the Coalition, Mrs. Carolyn Seaman, said this at a two-day road planning workshop for UNICEF/ GTA project in Abuja.
According to her, the current statistics says 44 per cent of girls are married before they turn 18 years of age and 18 per cent before they turn 15 years of age.
She said the statistics was alarming, saying the coalition major aim was to promote gender- transformationative action to address child marriage and advance girls’ right in the country.
” Apart from the big treaties and international instruments who signed to ending child marriage, domesticating the laws has been a problem.
” Ending child marriage should be approached differently depending on the geo-political zones.
” We are mindful of the different perceptions and fears of the different zones and that is why our approach and messages will be different” Seaman said.
She said the Coalition was going to leverage on the project of government on ending child marriage in which was the core mandates of the Ministry of Women Affairs.
The Steering Committee member of the Coalition, Mrs Comfort Ikpeme, said child marriage limited a child’s development, violates children’s rights and places them at high risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse.
She said that child marriage affectedboth girls and boys, but it affects girls disproportionately.
“Child marriage ends childhood. It negatively influences children’s rights to education, health and protection.
” These consequences impact not just the girl directly, but also her family and community, “Ikpeme said.
She also said child marriage was an harmful practice that should be stopped, saying the barbaric act should not continue and not be seen as a normal thing.
” We might not be able to end child marriage now but it is our hope that in the nearest future, the practice will end with strategies and activities in place we hope it will end.
” Ending child marriage was achievable in Nigeria it all depends on our attitudes and behaviour if our leaders are ready to listen to us,” Ikpeme said.
She,however, said government should put systems and structures in place to end child marriage, adding that services should put in place for child marriage survivor.
Ikpeme said services should be rendered for survivor who drop out school and can access scholarships to continue in their education.
The Co-chair of the Coalition, Mr Kola Olatosimi said at the end working the group hope to come up with a 12 month work plan in community that was more prevalence.
He said that ending child marriage was a collective effort and its achievable in the country through gender transformative approach. (NAN)