Abuja : Nigeria is among the countries with the highest rate of child marriage globally, as 78 percent of girls in the northern region get married before 18, said a report released here Thursday.
The report, titled “State of the Nigerian Girl: An Inclusive Diagnosis of Child Marriage,” by Save the Children International(SCI), a leading global independent organization for children, said child marriage has become more prevalent in the northeast and northwest regions of the country with 48 percent of girls getting married by the age of 15 and 78 percent by 18.
“The report brings to the fore the dire state of the Nigerian girl child at the national level, its negative impact on education and empowerment,” the SCI report said, adding it explained “the current and prevailing socio-cultural norms and practices in Nigeria around child marriage” and captured “the approximate state of Nigerian girls.”
The percentage of people aged 20-49 years who were first married or in a relationship before age 18 for women is 44.1 percent, while men accounted for 6 percent, the report said.
It said the percentage of people from 15-49 years who are in a polygamous union for women is 36.9 percent while men account for 18.7 percent.
“This is proof that early child marriage affects quite a large number of women and girls,” the SCI report said further, adding there is a clear and strong link between child early forced marriage prevalence and endemic poverty and poor education outcomes, school dropout rates, a high rate of out-of-school children, and poor access to basic social, economic and healthcare services.