The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said 23 million Nigerian children are married off as child brides, and as a result, they drop out of school. The agency said Nigeria is the second largest in the world.
UNICEF made the disclosure, yesterday, at a programme it jointly organised with Bauchi State Universal Basic Education to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) in Bauchi.
UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office in Bauchi, Mr. Bhanu Pathak, said the increasing number of child brides is another major factor contributing to the menace of out-of-school children, with Bauchi account for over one million.
While addressing youths from six northern states – Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Jigawa, Plateau and Gombe, Pathak said an estimated three in five children had suffered one or more forms of violence before reaching 18, with over 70 per cent experiencing multiple incidents of violence.
He said: “Only 25 states in Nigeria have the Child Right Law in place. Eleven states are yet to enact this law. These states are from the Northern part of Nigeria. For the world – and Nigeria, especially – to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, clearly things must change.”
Over 200 young Nigerians converged in Bauchi to discuss the issues hindering them from attaining their potentials.
The Wife of Bauchi State Governor, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed, charged the youths to take up the task of rebuilding the nation while noting that international donor agencies should not be left alone in fixing Nigeria’s problems.