The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment towards ending child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence in the country.
The minister stated this at a 1-day meeting with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and CSOs coalition working on Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria supported by the Ford Foundation and the development Research and Projects Centre, and the coalition of CSOs Technical Working Group in Nigeria.
According to Ms Tallen, the federal government working with other African countries is determined to end child marriage in view of the serious threat it posed to the development of the girl child in the country.
She said: “As the national strategy ends this year, this collaboration is key to come up with a common front to ensure the child right act is domesticated across the 36 states of the federation to pave the way to end child marriage.”
Ms Tallen, therefore, urged all Nigerians to protect the girl child by working to end child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence as a noble cause needed to safeguard the future of the Nigerian girl-child.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ambassador Anthonia A. Ekpa disclosed that the meeting was organized to deliberate and come up with ways to tackle the menaces driving child marriage in Nigeria in order to identify key strategies to address the gender inequality, social and economic, and health drivers of child marriage in Nigeria and includes a monitoring framework that has as key objectives:
According to him, the meeting will also work to integrate and strengthen all sectoral mechanisms to end child marriage in Nigeria, and build a nationwide capacity for research and knowledge sharing on child marriage to improve programming as well as to promote relevantly policies, legislation, and programs that protect children from child marriage.
She then called on all NGOs working on ending child marriage and other forms of gender violence to ensure they register with the ministry to ensure collective efforts are strengthened to save the girl child.
In his part, Kolawale Olatusin, the Co-chair of the Coalition of CSOs working to end child marriage said that it is imperative for Nigerians to change the negative socioeconomic and cultural norms that promote child marriage in society and work together to increase children’s access to quality all-round education and promote the retention of the girl child in school in order to reduce their vulnerability to child marriage while establishing and strengthening coordination, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation structures for the implementation of the strategy of the national strategy to end child marriage.
In his speech at the occasion, the Director Project, development Research and Projects Centre, Dr. Stanley Ukpai, said the Ford Foundation decision to support the federal government to end child marriage through building the capacities of CSOs in Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal is necessary to ensure regional efforts to end the menace.
He challenges the participants to come up with more robust, sustainable, and applicable solutions to eliminate the menace of child marriage in Nigeria.
The Technical working group on Ending Child Marriage, is a coalition of CSOs in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, in partnership with development Research & Projects Centre (dRPC) and the meeting is designed to, Reviewing progress made towards Ending Child Marriage, Identifying gaps in the implementation of the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage ( 2016 – 2021), and Draw up work-plan for the year 2021.
The participants explored a draft framework for the extension of the National Campaign to End Child Marriage to integrate the new regional direction from the African Union and to harmonize efforts to better measure the implementation of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria and the design of the 2021-2022 draft work plan to foster effective collaboration between the Ministry and Civil Society Organizations.