The Association for Orphan and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (AONN) has called to question the sanity of Senator Ahmed Yerima for his addiction to child-marriage and influencing the recent constitution review that seems to support marriage of underage girls.
The group condemned the action of the Yerima-led group in the Senate for their support of child marriage, which they described as “inhumane and madness.”
The Coordinator of AONN, Mrs. Priscilla Nwachukwu, while speaking at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, tagged: ‘Child Marriage-Slavery Disguised’, said the actions of the Senators could jeopardise the future and happiness of girl-child especially those of the down-trodden.
Nwachukwu said the lawmakers were not in their right frame of minds when they rose in support of the Bill at, and called for a “psycho-social support” to Yerima and his group.
She said: “It is madness for somebody to marry a child without considering the health, social and economic implications. Marrying off Nigeria girls in childhood will only deepen their trauma and further enslave them. This is very wrong. It is inhumane.
“Child marriage has far- reaching health, social, economic and political implications for girl-child and her community. It truncates a girl’s childhood, creates grave physical and psychological health risks and robs her of internationally recognised human rights.”
Nwachukwu identified poverty, social ties and protection as reasons some parents indulge in child marriage act. She said research had shown that marriage below the age of 20 years has a high risk factor for HIV infection in the girl-child, adding that the girls’ virgina and physical immaturity increase the risk of HIV transmission.
She further called on governments at all level to implement health outreach programmes for girls and boys, and also incorporate preventive and treatment programmes for the reproductive health issues into their health services.
“I want to enjoin all Nigerians to say no this form of slavery and join in educating the girl child,” she said.