According to UNICEF, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. Some 250 million were married before 15.
Although, the advocacy against child marriages has helped to reduce the prevalence, the progress rate needs to be worked on.
Last week, former minsiter of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode tweeted about the impact the Sultan of Sokoto would make if he spoke against child-brides in the northern states.
But a follower, Usman Solo replied that child marriage is their religious beliefs and should be respected.
Unfortunately, the effect of child-marriages in our society, according to UNICEF is that girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence; they are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s; their infants are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.
Asides these, stories of child brides harming their husbands or perpetrating one evil or the other cannot be ignored.
In 2014, Mail Online reported the story of a 14 years old Wasila Tasi’u, who killed her 35 years old husband.
In July 2017, Punch reported the story of a 14-year old, who killed her 40-years old husband, five years after marriage because of maltreatment.
Recently, Guardian reported that a 15-year-old housewife, Dausiya Abdulmuminu, was arrested by the Katsina State Police Command for allegedly poisoning her 27-years old husband and her half-brother.
She was said to have put the poison in the food eaten by her late husband, his younger sister and her half-brother.
It was learnt that Dausiya poisoned her husband because she was pregnant for another man and did not want him to know. Other sources said that Dausiya’ s uncle betrothed her to the late husband, who she never loved.
The advocacy against child marriages needs to come out strong especially in the muslim northern societies where it is prevalent. These teenagers seems to be finding a way out of the ‘bondage’ they are forced into.
Globally, about one in six adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) are currently married or in union, UNICEF says. West and Central Africa has the highest proportion of married adolescents by 27 per cent.