The Nigerian government has taken a firm step to stop child marriage in the nation, with a campaign to protect the girl child launched on Tuesday by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Professor Osinbajo explained that all departments and agencies will be made to ensure compliance as the country has set a 2030 target to totally end child marriage.
The campaign, which is launched alongside 15 other African Union member countries is to highlight the physical, mental and social effects of marrying a girl before the age of 18.
The launch of the campaign is coming few days after the Canadian government demanded for more concrete plans from the Nigerian government to end what it described as huge burden of child bride on Nigeria.
Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Christopher Thornley, made the appeal on Friday at a meeting held to discuss more efforts needed to end child marriage.
According to him, two in every five girls in Africa are given in marriage before they attain age 19 and Nigeria has the highest record of such marriages.
“In Africa, two out of five girls are married before the age of 19. In Nigeria, I’m sorry to say this, but I’m also very heartened that we see people here, like yourselves, who are addressing the issue.
“In Nigeria there are more child brides than in any other country. Part of that is that Nigeria is such a huge country. Absolutely the numbers will be high, but there are massive numbers of young girls being married in this country as children,” he told the gathering of government officials, representatives of different organisations and right activists.
He said that the African Union (AU) campaign to end child marriage was raising awareness and accelerating change.
“Nigeria has signed on to this campaign and we are working with the government in support of its work to end child marriage.
“There is a national strategy that will be launched next week and I know that this meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the elements of that strategy and if any of you is feeding into that, please go back to what I said about the age 18 definition.
“It is very important that that be embedded in the strategy and there is resistance in Nigeria to that, as you know.
“It is not enough to have a strategy, concrete action must be taken to put plans into actions and to accomplish concrete results,” he added.