CHILD MARRIAGE AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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Child marriage is an obstruction to not only the socio-economic development of Nigeria but also to the actualization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as it hamstrings the positive outcomes of girl-child education which includes but not limited to enhanced economic development, stable communities, healthier families and fewer children. Child marriage is one of the factors linked to high population growth, vesico vaginal fistula, child morbidity and maternal mortality.

Globally, the cardinal role of women to national development have been recognized which is manifested in the upsurge of women in political and administrative leadership and Nigeria is no exception as the reason adduced to this is girl-child education. However, if Nigeria must continue to exhibit her dignity as the Giant of Africa, then there is earnest need for adoption and implementation of the Child Rights Act in every state in addition to putting in place exacting measures in ensuring that every child is in school thereby strategically tackling child marriage.

Nigeria launched the National Policy on Ending Child Marriage in 2016 with the vision of “End Child Marriage by 2030’’; ‘’A Nigeria where every young child is protected from harmful and impeding traditional practices and whose fundamental human right to a fulfilled childhood is achieved’’. The most effective approach in achieving this is engaging traditional and religious leaders as champions of girl- child education as well as using traditional and new media to expose how child marriage catalyse community and national underdevelopment.

Oluwatoyin Taiwo,tgurlbisi@gmail.com