NIGERIA is the country with the second highest number of child brides in the world behind India with a scary total of 23m girls forced into marriage as children according to a recent report United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
According to Bhanu Pathak, the Unicef chief field officer in Nigeria, these girls end up abandoning their education once they are married off. Speaking in Bauchi during a youth talk ceremony organised in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), he said Nigeria needs to do something about the growing problem.
Mr Pathak added: “Too many Nigerian children and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education. Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out-of-school children as more than 10.5m Nigerian children are not in school.
“Nigeria also has the second largest number of child brides in the world with 23m girls and women married as children. This ends up ending their education.”
He affirmed Unicef’s resolve to foster a stronger partnership with the Nigerian government at the federal and state levels for the realisation of children’s rights. Sagir Musa, the president of Youth Advocates for Education in Bauchi, responded, saying: “The challenges of young people include high rates of unemployment, lack of basic life skills, drug abuse, political thuggery and illiteracy among others.