Addressing the Phenomenon of Child Marriage in Nigeria



Child marriage is a class phenomenon which is rooted in culture and religion. This phenomenon is classified among features of developing countries which has been highlighted in anthropological literature as well as old and current demographical data. It is often based on the belief that virginity can only be guaranteed between the ages of 8-10 years. It also serves as a means of forestalling promiscuity in young girls, prevent any mischief and to protect family honour by preventing prostitution. Furthermore, it is practised for economic reasons, for the payment of dowry and bride price.

Nevertheless, the practice has a lot of negative effects on the health, psychological, physical and social well-being of the young female child in particular. In spite of the problems associating with the practice of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, several factors have been attributed to this problem, this include the collapse of educational system, ignorance, cost of education, unseriousness of girls as well as household poverty which are reversing the achievements of the past even in areas which hitherto had high rates of female literacy and enrolment statistical data. Basically, the consensual union between a man and woman is one common factor of every marriage, though it may possess diverse features according to the law to which such is subject.

IFE PsychologIA Vol 9, No 2 September 2001, pp. 159-169

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eISSN: 1117-1421