The Chairman of Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, Mr. Rasulu Taiwo, has stated the readiness of the council to enact and implement a bye-law that would eliminate child marriage in Imude Community.
In view of the high prevalence in Imude Community, records at the Federal Ministry of Health National Management Information System, at Imude Maternity and Healthcare Centre, shows that out of every 10 women that visit the health facility for antenatal clinic and delivery, four are young girls between the ages of 12 to 17 years.
Taiwo, made this known recently, in an exclusive interview with THISDAY in Lagos, when he received a delegate from Bella Foundation, who were on an advocacy visit to his office.
He said as a government that has the interest of its people at heart, they cannot continue to watch without proactive measures to support good initiatives that would help eradicate the issue of child marriage in the LGA and in the state in general.
While commending the impact of the project, he said, “We will do anything within our power to facilitate the project. Within now and next week, I will get the legal team together and invite the initiator of the bill so that we can talk together and resend the bill immediately to the legislative arm to work on it and see that it is passed into law.
“This will be a bill that would reshape the economic stability of girls in the local government and make parents accountable to the wellbeing of every child within their environment.”
Speaking, Founder, Bella Foundation, Bella Akhagba, said these girls were prevented from furthering their education or acquiring skills that can empower them economically.
She noted that there were cases where these girls get impregnated by young men who do not have means of livelihood but are forced by their parents to marry the men responsible for their pregnancies.
“Recently we lost a girl who died a month after delivery due to infections and malnutrition and some other cases that victims refuse to talk about.
“Because of stigmatisation and shame, these girls do not like to go to the maternity or antenatal care, rather they go to the patent medicine store owners who do not have the knowledge; hence, they end up in complication. With this project that is sponsored by Cummins Foundation and RISEUP, we hope to end this menace.”