The Borno State Government has said that underage marriage of female children has now become a punishable crime in the state and that any parent found guilty will be prosecuted.
The state governor, Mr Kashim Shettima gave the warning on Wednesday while addressing parents whose children are beneficiaries of the free basic education introduced by his government.
The government also presented parents with incentives which included food items and wears, as part of efforts to encourage them to send their female children to school rather than selling them off to marriage.
Shettima said: “Allow them to finish secondary school; irrespective of all the assistance and hospitality we offer you, whoever marries out his 12-year-old daughter would be prosecuted.
“We as parents must help them acquire western and religious education,” the governor stated.
The Fulani community comprises mostly displaced persons from the Lake Chad region seeking refuge in Maiduguri.
Prior to the free education initiative, many of the Fulani parents were opposed to western education.
However, they have now been made to understand and accept the benefits of education for their (female) children.
Nearly 600 Fulani children are now to benefit from the free education programme.
Some parents who spoke to Channels Television expressed gratitude to the governor for the initiative.
One of the parents, Amina Maina, said: “We are from Gudumbali, it’s because of the crisis that we came here, and we didn’t return. Since our children have now been enrolled in school we are not going anywhere until they finish school if God spares our life.”
Also according to the government, homes will also be provided for the displaced Fulanis.
100 houses are expected to be set aside for them from the homes built by Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote for victims of insurgency in the state.