Innocent DURU

Underage female children around Agege area of Lagos State have lamented the practice of child and forced marriages in the community.

The girls expressed their displeasure with the practice during a workshop  organized to train the young girls to become advocates, and speak out against the practice of child marriage in their community.

The workshop was organized by the Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN), a non-governmental organization based in Lagos.

The trained young girls condemned the practice of child and forced marriages in very strong terms, advising older men to stop the practice of marrying young girls and consequently denying them their right to education.

“I have a friend who got married before the age of 16. Today, she is in pains.What I learnt during the training has boosted my confidence about standing up for the right thing and stopping what is wrong in the society.

I learnt about the laws that have to do with the girl-child,” Habiba Nabi, a participant said.

14 year-old Awawu Mohammed in emotion laden voice  said:” I had a class mate who got married. I felt very bad about it and vowed I will never be involved in such.”

CEWHIN, under its Campaign against Child Marriage Initiative (supported by Rise up based in the Public Health Institute Oakland, California USA), exposed the participants to the gains of educating the girl child, the health implications of child marriage among others.

The Programme Officer for CEWHIN, Tolulope Aderibigbe, said that the training conducted for the young girls was just one out of the activities that CEWHIN intends to conduct within Agege community, to combat the practice of child marriage.

She  called on all strategic stakeholders, “the Lagos State government inclusive, to join forces with CEWHIN to tackle the issue of child marriage, which is a root cause of a lot of the menace we face as a society today.”

In her parting words, she says the consequences of child marriage are severe, people need to understand the implications of child marriage and also know that their girls can contribute more to economic development if marriage is delayed, and the girls are allowed to further their education and pursue a career.

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