File photo: Child brides in Northern Nigeria
Speaking during a legislative plenary session on Wednesday, the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Bauchi House of Assembly, Mrs. Maryam Begel, revealed that female students in some schools in the state were being withdrawn to engage in menial jobs to generate funds for their marriage.
According to a report by Punch newspaper, the lawmaker disclosed that an interactive session she had with 60 girls of a particular secondary school in the state revealed such practice.
She said, “I had an interactive session with 60 girls of a particular tertiary school in Bauchi state and what I gathered from them was shocking.
“They complained that some parents were in the habit of withdrawing their daughters from school when they reach JSS two or three.
“They said such parents initiate their daughters into engaging in menial jobs to generate funds that would be used in buying items preparatory to their marriage.
“The girls were so disturbed and were lamenting that a lot of their colleagues have had their education either temporarily suspended, or completely terminated, on such grounds.”
Begel, who once
served as a Child Protection Officer with an international non-governmental organisation, ‘Save the Children’,
lamented that such action by parents was inimical to the development of the Girl-Child at a time campaign
was being intensified to encourage the education of female children.
Speaking on the reluctance of most Northern state governments to domesticate the Child Rights
Act, Begel blamed this development on those that started
the campaign for its application.
She said, “From the beginning, the effort at explaining the content of the document was scanty as a lot of people had not been adequately sensitised.
“Most of the contents of the document are also backed by our religions and tradition, for example, Right of child to education, good health and humane treatment.
“Alongside the rights enshrined, are also obligations. The campaigners however ignored the obligations and harped on the Rights, thereby giving a negative perception of the document.”