By G9ija

An international non-governmental organisation, Save the Children International, has said that 89.13 percent of girls in Borno marry before 18 years.

The organisation said that 59 per cent of the women have no education before being married off while 42 per cent had some level of primary school education.

It added that 100 per cent of the women have no secondary school education before marriage.

According to the organisation 78 per cent of girls in the North marry before they turn 18.

The organisation, in its report: “State of the Nigerian Girl Report – An Incisive Diagnosis of Child Marriage” unveiled in Abuja, said that Child marriage is more prevalent in the North West and North East where 48 per cent of girls were married by 15 and 78 were married by 18.

According to the organisation, the report explains the current and prevailing socio-cultural norms and practices in Nigeria around child marriage to capture the approximate state of Nigerian girls.

Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, Mercy Gichuhi, said: “In Nigeria as a whole, 44% of girls are married before their 18th birthday and the country records as one of the highest rates of child marriage globally.

“The report brings to the fore the dire state of the Nigerian girl – child at the national level, its negative impact on education and empowerment, evidence-based gaps in socio-cultural beliefs and systems, and provides recommendations for moving forward to addressing these gaps in child marriage in Nigeria.

“Child Early Forced Marriage is a human rights violation and a form of gender-based violence (GBV) that robs children of their ability to make decisions about their lives, disrupts their education, subject them to become more vulnerable to violence and discrimination, and prevents their full participation in economic, political, and social spheres.”

Save the Children called for the provision and full implementation of policies and strategies to end child marriage.

Purity Oriaifo, Save the Children International Nigeria’s Girl Champion, said: “If a girl is out of school, the likelihood of getting married at an early age is very high. When a girl is married young, she is robbed of her childhood and opportunities to realise her full potential.

“She has an increased risk of poor health outcomes, having children at a younger age, dropping out of school, experiencing ongoing violence in the home, being restricted in her mobility, left with limited decision-making ability, and earning less over her lifetime.”

Youth Ambassador, Save the Children International Nigeria, Maryam Ahmed, said: “Children especially the girls are among the most affected by poverty in Nigeria. Childhood poverty affects their capacity to attain full potential.

“Child marriage is widely considered as a way out of poverty. Families of the poor and vulnerable must be provided with social safety nets to support education of the girl-child.

“It is one of the most effective ways to lift up the girl child out of poverty. Social protection services, livelihoods and economic independence contributes to delay early child and forced marriage.”