3 December 2018

Nigeria: 23 Million Girls Victims of Child Marriage in Nigeria - UN

Photo: Girls Not Brides
(file photo)

The country representative of United Nation Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Ms Comfort Lamptey, has said statistics has shown that over 23 million girls are victims of child marriage in Nigeria.

Lamptey said one in three women and girls aged 15-24 has been victim of violence while one in five has experienced physical violence which is the highest in Africa.

She stated this yesterday in Abuja at a media briefing and lightening event to observe the 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign 2018.

She said Women and girls constitute the majority of trafficked persons in Nigeria adding that a gender analysis of the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency reveals that while men have disproportionally been killed, women are an overwhelming majority among the estimated 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the most affected states in the North East.

She also said for too long, many women and girls have been subjected to various forms of violence, yet have remained silent due to impunity, stigma and shame, among other inhibiting factors. "Their stories need to be brought to light. This is why the UNiTE Campaign's global advocacy theme year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo", she said.

According to Lamptey "With women and girls bearing the brunt of abduction, forced marriage and being used as human bombs. Gender-based violence is evident also in the political realm, where women have reported numerous cases of victimization, intimidation and harassment, in order to side-line them in the upcoming 2019 General Elections.

"Recently, the case of Ochanya, a promising young woman, whose life was cut short due to the effects of brutalizing abuse and rape she suffered over many years, has awakened the country to the fact that violence against women is real, and demands urgent, collective action".

She commended the Nigerian Government for the adoption of an Action Plan for implementation of UNSCR 1325, and its domestication and implementation in eleven states, with significant impact in addition to the passage into law of the Gender and Equality Opportunity Bill (GEOB) in some states of the federation.

"Going forward, efforts must be intensified to ensure passage into law of the GEOB. Sexual Harassment and Disability RightsBills, and domestication of the VAPP Act at state levels" she added.

In her address, the minister of women affairs and social development, Hajia Aisha Abubakar said in Nigeria, gender equality is wide spread due to politicking, imbalance of social economic opportunities, cultural and regional factors and inadequate enabling bigger and policy frame work among many others.

She maintained that violence and threats that women and girls face is a consistent trend in our society ranging from domestic violence, traditional harmful practices, fear of standing for electoral offices including sexual harassment of girls and young women.

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