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African Union campaign to end child marriage

The African Union, AU, has called on top politicians and party candidates in the country to make personal commitments and conviction to end early child marriages and stand against other harmful practices against women and girl.

The AU Commission Special Rapporteur on ending child marriage and other harmful practices, Ms Hermaine Kembo made the call in Abuja during a monitoring and evaluation visit to the Federal ministry of women affair.

Ms kembo commended the highest political commitment from government at all levels to address child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence as well as the progressive domestication of the Child rights and VAPP Acts across states.

“We could note from the launch of the campaign in Nigeria since 2014 till now the progressive domestication of the child rights act and the VAPP act where we have seen to know that much progress has been achieved and that it is just remaining few states to domesticate which we urged and plead with them that those process be completed as soon as possible for the benefit of children of Nigeria” she said    

She however, urged the country to move beyond treating the issues of early child marriage as an advocacy issues to a human right violation adding that it was fundamental to ensure swift justice for victims and punishment of offenders.

According to her, the African union would keep monitoring and give guidance to states on how to fulfil their obligation towards ending child marriage and other harmful practices against the girl child. 

The minister of women affairs Dame Pauline Tallen outlined the achievement of the ministry in addressing issues affecting the girl child despite some push back heralded by the Covid 19 pandemic.

“The creation of a Girl-Child Division in the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs which is expected to provide a stronger platform to coordinate the implementation of programmes regarding the issues and concerns of girls in all sectors in Nigeria and Aggressive Sensitization campaigns to promote girl child enrolment, retention and completion of basic education; alongside advocacy visits and dialogues with Traditional Rulers and Religious Leaders”. She said  

The minister assured the delegation that the Government of Nigeria was committed to working with other Countries through implementation of various policies, and programmes aimed at enhancing the development and status of girls.

The event also feature presentation for representatives of the ministries of health and education on the status of their policies in developing the girl child, ending child marriage and other harmful practices.

Reporting by Azizatu Sani, Editing by Omotola Oguneye