Early Marriage is defined as a marriage of a girl or boy before the age of 18 and refers to both formal marriages and informal unions in which children under the age of 18 live with a partner as if married.
Early marriage violates children’s rights and places them at high risk of Domestic violence, exploitation, and abuse.
Earlt marriage is most common in the North West and North East of Nigeria, where 68% and 57% of women aged 20-49 were married before their 18th birthday. Early marriage is particularly common among Nigeria’s poorest, rural households and the Hausa ethnic group.
In kano State girls are forced to marry at there early 15 to 16 ages. This can be Sometimes related to some ethnic and religious beliefs, and sometimes caused by poverty. In my street where i based in kano a girl was married to an aged man unwillingly due to how poor her family was. Few days after the Marriage ceremonies the girl the girl was badly hurt by the husband and then she returned home seeking for a divorce. According to her statement it was clear that she was forced to do things beyond her.
Early marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Northern Nigeria, child marriage is driven by:
2 Level of education: 73% of Nothern Nigerian women with no formal education were married before 18, compared to only 9% who had completed higher education. Further education is almost impossible for some girls, who have little choice but to depend on their husbands for the rest of their lives.
2 Political and economic ties: Some girls are married off by their parents to enhance political and social alliances with rich families or business partners and to improve their economic status.
4 Gender norms: Some men reportedly prefer to marry children. Girls are not accepted as equal partners within marriages, which contributes to a sense of low self-worth. A 2004 study shows that domestic violence is more common among marriages involving young girls in Nigeria.
4 Violence against girls: The abduction of 276 Chibok girls in 2014 was just one instance of a disturbing tactic used by Boko Haram – child marriage as a weapon of war. Christian and Muslim girls have been kidnapped and married off by Boko Haram in an attempt to dismantle communities and attract male recruits who are awarded “wives” if they fight. Some parents have been killed for refusing to marry off their daughters.
5 Poverty: The humanitarian crisis in North Eastern Nigeria left more than two million people displaced. Families facing extreme famine and living in refugee camps sometimes marry off their daughters because they lack alternative survival options.
Effects of Early Marriage In Northern Nigeria
Some consequences of early marriage are as follows;
This is another one of the side effects of early marriage. The wives in such marriages often become victims of violence, because of young age they can’t resist any violent actions of an older husband. Such a situation is very harmful for psychological health of young wife.
Almost in every case when a young person gets married he or she doesn't continue education. Many parents think that a girl doesn't need education because she is a wife already. Young wives can't even finish the education in school.
The rate of female harassment is still high, that is why families worry about their daughters. In this situation, a family wants to give daughter protection, parents believe that it would be much safer for a young girl to be under the protection of an older husband.
Some Solutions to Effects of Early Marriage in Northern Nigeria
Raising awareness among parents about the issue and possible negative effect of early marriage.
Regulation of early marriage at the legislative level.
Government should establish policies for early Marriage.
Government should mobilize communities and families.
Employment should be provided for both gender.
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