The wives of the 19 Northern Governors have agreed to partner with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to curtail early child marriage in Northern Nigeria .
This was disclosed by the Wife of the Taraba State governor, Mrs Anne Darius, during the launch of the Adolescent Girls Iniative in Kaduna recently.
To this end, she said the forum had signed a charter to support the enrolment of girls in each of the state in the region.
Also speaking, the wife of Kaduna State governor, Hajiya Hadiza El-rufai, added that the initiative was aimed at reducing poverty especially in the rural communities as well as to remove the stigmatisation that girls were only born to be housewives.
In her own remarks, the representative of the UNFPA in Nigeria, Mrs Ratidzai Ndhlovu, said her agency was currently supporting 9,250 adolescent children to acquire primary education up to secondary school level.
According to her, child marriage occurred more frequently among the girls who are least educated, poorest and live in rural areas, saying, ‘statistically, adolescent girls with no education had a median age of 15.5 years at marriage and six years younger than those with secondary school education.
Piqued by this development, she said the UNFPA, in partnership with the government of Canada and the Centre for Girls Education of PRHI, were launching the Adolescent Girls Iniatative in Kaduna in response to the challenges identified with the adolescent girls in the region.
‘We expect to support 9,250 girls in the two states of Kaduna and Kebbi. This is just a part of our desire to reach out to 114,000 marginalised girls in Northern Nigeria.
She contended that improving access to quality education for the girls was critical for a healthy society, saying that, “if you educate a woman you have educated the whole nation”.
In his own remarks, Governor el-Rufai disclosed that his administration had given priority to girl child education, pointing out, ‘it was for this reason we banned hawking and said every child must go to school by September.