GOVERNOR Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State’s chief of staff Muhammad Abdullahi has revealed that over 38% of girls in Soba Local Government Area of his state get married before the age of 15.
In an admission that the state has a child bride crisis, Mr Abdullahi, said that the findings was based on the current General Households Survey conducted by the state Bureau of Statistics and currently being validated by relevant stakeholders. He made the revelation at the official launch of the 2021 State of the World Population Report by the United Nations Population Fund, in collaboration with the Planning and Budget Commission (PBC).
According to Mr Abdullahi, the survey also shows that over 30% of girls in Kubau and Kudan local government areas were also married off before they turn 15 years. He said that at the zonal level, over 32% of girls are married off before age 15 in Kaduna North Senatorial Zone, 15% in Kaduna Central and 17% in Kaduna South.
In addition, Mr Abdullahi added that the survey equally showed 49% prevalence of female genital mutilation in Makarfi Local Government Area and 34% in Giwa Local Government Area. He also said that more disturbingly, 73% of women in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area and 0.4% in Zaria Local Government Area said that it was okay for a man to beat a woman.
Mr Abdullahi added: “Therefore, for us in Kaduna State, the 2021 State of the World Population Report is timely and will help us look deeply into these disturbing statistics. The relevant ministries, departments and agencies, particularly the ministry of health, human services and social development and PBC will study the report closely and provide a clear implementation plan for some of the recommendations.
Professor Hauwa Yusuf of the Criminology and Gender Studies Department at Kaduna State University (Kasu), said that women needed to know that they have a right to decide on issues that affect their body. While presenting an overview of the report, she stressed that bodily autonomy empowers women and enable them make informed decisions to achieve their goals in life.
Professor Muhammad Tanko, the Kasu vice chancellor, added that the university as a learning institution was determined to ensure a learning environment free of sexual abuse. He said that the university’s research on gender-related issues was helping to provide the needed information on the significance of gender equality in communities.