The federal government has reiterated its commitment to protecting the right of the girl-child through working with partners and communities to end child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence in the country.
This is a strategic decision of the government to promote, protect, and place the girl-child to attain her potentials in the country.
The minister of women affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, disclosed this on yesterday at a one-day meeting between the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and a coalition of CSOs working on ‘Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria’ supported by the Ford Foundation and the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), and the coalition of CSOs Technical Working Group in Nigeria.
She added that the federal government working with other African countries were determined to end child marriage in view of the serious threat it posed to the development of the girl child in the country.
“As the national strategy ends this year, this collaboration is key to come up with a common front to ensure the child right act is domesticated across the 36 states of the federation to pave the way to end child marriage,’’ she said.
The minister, therefore, urged all Nigerians to protect the girl c-hild by working to end child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence as a noble cause needed to safeguard the future of the Nigerian girl-child
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa, stated that the meeting was organised to deliberate and come up with ways to tackle the menaces driving child marriage in the country, in order to identify key strategies to address the gender inequality, social and economic, and health drivers of child marriage and includes a monitoring framework that has key objectives.
She said the meeting will also work to integrate and strengthen all sectoral mechanisms to end child marriage in the country, and build a nationwide capacity for research and knowledge sharing on child marriage to improve programming as well as to promote relevantly policies, legislation, and programmes that protect children from child marriage.
Ekpa then called on all NGOs working on ending child marriage and other forms of gender violence to ensure they register with the ministry to ensure collective efforts are strengthened to save the girl-child.
The co-chair, Coalition of CSOs working to end child marriage, Mr Kolawale Olatusin, said it was imperative for Nigerians to change the negative socioeconomic and cultural norms that promote child marriage in society.
In his speech at the occasion, the director project, development Research and Projects Centre, Dr. Stanley Ukpai, said the Ford Foundation’s decision to support the federal government to end child marriage through building the capacities of CSOs in Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal was necessary to ensure regional efforts to end the menace.
He challenged the participants to come up with more robust, sustainable, and applicable solutions to eliminate the menace of child marriage in Nigeria.
The participants explored a draft framework for the extension of the National Campaign to End Child Marriage to integrate the new regional direction from the African Union and to harmonise efforts to better measure the implementation of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria and the design of the 2021-2022 draft work plan to foster effective collaboration between the Ministry and civil society organisations (CSOs).