The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Christopher Thornley, who spoke at a forum in Abuja on the growing international concern about child marriage, pointed out that Nigeria had more cases of child brides in sub-Saharan Africa.
He also explained the commitment of the Canadian government to assisting Nigeria’s efforts at reducing the burden of child marriage.
When the Child Rights Act was passed into law in 2003, many people celebrated it as a law that would finally put the issues of child marriage to rest because it puts the minimum age of marriage at 18.
Almost 13 years after, the burden of child bride is still heavy on Nigeria, as statistics from the Canadian government reveal.
At a photo exhibition by the Canadian High Commission in Abuja, the burden of child marriage was highlight as a global issue, with focus on what could be done to end it.
At the event was a teenager who was a victim of child marriage in Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria.
She dropped out of primary school at 12, the same year she was married off.
This situation is what the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria said his country was trying to address and reduce the burden on Nigeria.
For the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, the problem is endemic in some states despite the existing federal laws that protected the child rights.
She, however, assured the Canadian government of Nigeria’s efforts to ensure that states domesticate laws that would protect the girl child rights.
Statistics by the Canadian government reveals that over 15 million girls are married every year before they turn 18, an alarming figure that the Sustainable Development Goals hope to reduce by the year 2030.