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Causes and Challenges of Girl-Child Marriage in Northwest Nigeria


Adeyemi, Nurat Kehinde
Gidado, Taofeek Oluwayomi
Adeyemi, Moridiyah Adewumi
Lukman, Jamila

Abstract

Despite national and international laws and conventions legislating against girl-child marriage, the practice continues in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper adopts a qualitative method (in-depth interviews) to investigate causes and challenges associated with girl-child marriage in five (5) wards of Kankara Local Government Area, Katsina State, Northwest Nigeria. Multistage sampling identified twenty (20) child brides of differing marital status who were less than eighteen years at first marriage. From data thematically arranged and subjected to content analysis, our results show that cultural factors, religious reasons, economic considerations, and the need to protect girl-children from unwanted pregnancy and “not socially accepted” practices provide a frame of justification for the practice of girl-child marriages. Results further revealed that girl-child marriages predispose a girl-child to various forms of emotional, social, and psychological trauma that hinder her potential and future. The study concludes that girl-child marriages violate the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The practice hinders the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating poverty, hunger, discrimination, and poor health to engender gender equality, inclusivity, and development. The study recommends intensive enlightenment campaigns and counseling to be deployed in educating both parents and the girl-child in Northern Nigeria on the dangers inherent to the practice of girl-child marriage.

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eISSN: 1024-0969