Obianuju singer, Duncan Mighty has joined the list of celebrities such as Segun Arinze, Stephanie Linus and Omoni Oboli to speak out strongly against child marriage.
Yesterday, the 32-year-old singer took to his Instagram page to share a photo of a young African girl that was married off to a far older man and wrote this;
“Please my people, lend your voices to End child marriages. Many child brides develop fistula as a result of early pregnancy that subsequently will either kill them or render them disabled for life.” Duncan Mighty wrote, adding, “This little child needs a PENCIL not a P-NIS.”
In 2013, the Nigerian Senate came under attack after it approved a bill sponsored by former Zamfara State governor Ahmed Yerima, that would recognize child brides as adults, effectively legalizing marriages to minors. Senator Yerima, who himself married a 13-year old Egyptian girl in 2010, has long been an advocate of child marriages, claiming it is Islamic and sanctioned by the Koran.
Statistics given by girlsnotbrides.org show that 43% of girls in Nigeria are married off before their 18th birthday while 17% are married before they turn 15. Also, in the Northern part of Nigeria, there are high levels of Vesico Vagina Fistulae (VVF) cases which is predominantly caused by early childbirth.
A new report by Save the Children says that conflict, poverty and humanitarian crises are seen as major factors that leave girls exposed to child marriage. The report also posits that one girl under the age of 15 is married every seven seconds
Families in countries where gender equality is disregarded are said to marry off their daughters as a way to protect them against poverty or sexual exploitation.
UNICEF estimates that child brides will grow from 700 million today to around 950 million by 2030.