The former acting vice-chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, has called on the government and other stakeholders to intensify its effort in re-orientating and educating the Nigerian women on their human rights and social issues.
According to her, the socio-economic standing of the Nigerian women in the 21st century was still a cause for concern as it is evident in girl-child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), high fertility rate, girl child labour, prostitution, to name a few.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, Olatunji-Bello noted that child marriage was still a common practice in rural communities of Nigeria especially the northern region, as she urged the government and important stakeholders to intensify its effort to address the social issues and rights of the women, while eradicating female genital cutting in the country especially in states with highest prevalence rate.
She said, “Girl child marriage, according to GirlsNotBrides, has reached an all -time high with Nigeria ranking 13th among the 20 countries with the highest rate of child marriages. It is estimated that 43 per cent of girls get married before their 18th birthday and 17 per cent before they are 15 years old.
“Also Nigeria is ranked third highest in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting prevalence in the world. According to 2016a UNICEF report, it is estimated that 19.9 million Nigerian girls and women 15 to 49 years old underwent FGM/C between 2004 and 2015. However, in the last 30 years, prevalence has decreased by half in some parts of the country.
Olatunji-Bello added that this practice was considered harmful to girls and women as it causes infertility, maternal death, infections, loss of sexual pleasure, and also a violation of human right.