The Government of Canada has reiterated it’s commitment to ending early child and forced Marriage.
Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christopher Thornley explained that Child marriage is a violation of girls’ rights and it disrupts their access to education, jeopardizes their health and makes them vulnerable to Violence.
Besides, he said the impacts of early marriage practices are so profound and so far-reaching.
He spoke in Abuja on Tuesday Night at a reception to mark the official opening of “Girls’ Voices: Speaking Out Against Child Marriage.”, a visual exhibit highlighting the worldwide issue of child, early and Forced Marriage.
He asserted that his country is committed to ending early child marriage in the country.
“We are pleased that ending child marriage by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals; a goal that Canada is making concrete contributions to achieve . Since October 2013, Canada has invested over 80 million dollars in targeted funding to prevent child , early and forced marriage.”
Thornley, said, “in Nigeria, we are investing 3 million with Save the Children and 3.5 million dollars with UNFPA, and funding small projects with Girls Voices Initiative and the African Social and Development Foundation.”
According to the envoy, these and other projects are making a difference but there is still so much to do .
“Ending child, early and forced marriage will contribute to building more developed, just and prosperous societies around the world. We can advance if only we can work together, he added.
Also speaking , the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development , Aisha Jummai Alhassan said child marriage is endemic in Nigeria adding that 45% of girls are married off at the aged of 15.
According to her, Close interrogation of the problem reveals that in General, the causes of child marriage include poverty, cultural traditions and laws that allow child marriage like religion, social pressures, regional customs, fear of remaining unmarried, illiteracy and perceived inability of women to earn money.
She said that her ministry is collaborating with other ministry and civil societies to champion end the marriage campaign.
“The road map for ending child marriage has been developed and is being implemented,” she added.
Narrating her ordeal on early marriage, a fifteen year-old Khadijia Mohammaded from Zamfara who dropped out of school said she fell into relationship at little age and after one year things fell apart .
She also called on Nigerians to come to her aid. She said “During my child hood I started primary school and ended up in primary four and started selling akara. In the process I fell in a relationship and ended up getting married . After one year of my marriage we started having problem because we have no food and whenever I ask my husband money to buy food, he will start beating me up . I went back to my father’s house and I filed a divorce to end the marriage . Since I quit the marriage I could not go to school. I am calling everybody to come and support me.”
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