A UNICEF Partner, Plan International has revealed that about forty thousand underage girls are married off daily to men by their parents worldwide.
The chief executive of the nonprofit organization working in 50 different developing countries, Nigel Chapman made the declaration yesterday in a keynote address while celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child, which comes up every October 11.
14 million girls become child brides (40,000 daily), while violence in schools has also prevented girls access to education, according to Chapman.
“Globally, 65 million girls are out of school, with one in five adolescent girls around the world denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, discrimination and violence,” Plan International said in a statement on its website recognizing the day.
In Nigeria, particularly northern Nigeria has some of the highest rates of early marriage in the world. The Child Rights Act, passed in 2003, raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 for girls. However, federal law may be implemented differently at the state level, and to date, only a few of the country’s 36 states have begun developing provisions to execute the law.
Reports also have it that nationwide, 20 percent of girls were married by age 15, and 40 percent were married by age 18-22. Child marriage is extremely prevalent in some regions; in the Northwest region, 48 percent of girls were married by age 15, and 78 percent were married by age 18-23.
Although the practice of polygamy is decreasing in Nigeria, 27 percent of married girls aged 15–19 are in polygamous marriages