By Bright Bassey
The Federal Government has said plans are afoot to launch a campaign against child marriage and other unwholesome traditional practices in Nigeria.
Aisha Alhassan, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Monday said the resolution by African leaders at the 25th African Union Ordinary Session of Heads of State, in June 2015, spurred the proposed campaign.
“One of first practical steps is a vigorous campaign to end child marriage which will be launched Nov. 29 at the Sheraton Hotel.
“Global communities and Nigeria in particular are increasingly recognizing child marriage as a serious challenge, both as a violation of human rights and a hindrance to key developmental outcomes,’’ Alhassan said.
The minister said statistics by UNICEF revealed about 15 million children are married off globally, robbing them of access to education, good health and having a proper future.
“This is very disturbing as it is further revealed that 15 out of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world are in Africa.
“Fifteen African countries have so far launched the campaign to end child marriage.
“The countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Niger, the Islamic Republic of Gambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Zambia, Chad, Burkina Faso , Mali and Madagascar,” she said.
Moreover, she urged stakeholders to intensify theur efforts at stopping child marriage in the country.