The Federal Government in Abuja on Monday announced plans to launch a campaign to end child marriage and other related harmful traditional practices in the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Alhassan said this during a media briefing.
Alhassan said the move was borne out of the resolution by African leaders to end child marriage during the 25th African Union Ordinary Session of Heads of State in June 2015.
She said the leaders also resolved to take practical steps in addressing the issues of child marriage and other harmful traditional practices.
“One of first practical steps is a vigorous campaign to end child marriage which will be launched tomorrow Nov. 29 at the Sheraton Hotel.
“Global communities and Nigeria in particular are increasingly recognising child marriage as a serious challenge, both as a violation of human rights and a hinderance to key developmental outcomes,’’ she said.
Alhassan said African countries were faced with the challenges of child marriage which robbed girls or children of their education, health and future.
She said according to UNICEF findings, 15 million children are married off every year globally with devastating consequences on their general wellbeing.
“This is very disturbing as it is further revealed that 15 out of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world are in Africa.
“Fifteen African countries have so far launched the campaign to end child marriage.
“The countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Niger, the Islamic Republic of Gambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Zambia, Chad, Burkina Faso , Mali and Madagascar,” Alhassan said.
She said a National Technical Working Group set up to end child marriage in the country was inaugurated on July 23, 2015 by the ministry.
Alhassan urged the media, development partners and other stakeholders to redouble their efforts in ensuring girl’s rights to freedom from child marriage and other forms of violence against children.
She also urged all stakeholders in the campaign, to be more proactive and come up with concrete actions to end child marriage in the country.