The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisa Jummal Alhassan, has frowned upon rampant cases of child marriage in developing countries – including Nigeria.
She stated this on Wednesday in Asaba during her advocacy visit to the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.
Represented on the visit by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello, Alhassan said that the issue of child-marriage had a devastating effect on the girl- child because studies had shown that child marriage denied the girl-child the right to education and access to social environment for self- and community development.
Alhassan disclosed that in a view to address the challenge, a Technical Working Group on Ending Child Marriage, (TWGECM), in Nigeria was constituted by the federal government in 2015 with the mandate to raise awareness on issues surrounding child marriage.
She however enjoined the Delta State House of Assembly to further strengthen relevant laws prohibiting forced and child marriage in the state to ensure proper prosecution and punishment of perpetrators.
According to the Minister, “As we are aware, women and girls constitute over 50 percent of Nigeria population. Unfortunately, they are the most vulnerable group in the society and are subjected to harmful traditional practices, ignoring the fact that women and children’s right are, indeed, fundamental to societal growth and development.”
Alhassan urged the Delta law-makers to consider increased budgetary allocation to the state Ministry of Women Affairs to enable it carry out its mandate effectively.
Responding, the Speaker Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Monday Igbuya said that “violating underaged children and adolescent is very strange to us here and it is also a taboo”.
He assured that the State Assembly would do everything possible within the ambit of law to ensure that children and women were protected.
While commending Alhassan for her advocacy visit, Igbuya noted that Delta being a peaceful state was one of the 23 states that had domesticated the Child Rights Act.