NHRC Frowns On Early Marriage, Other ‘Harmful Practices’ Against Children

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has called for the elimination of child marriages in Nigeria as well as other harmful practices against the Nigerian child.

The NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu SAN, observed on Thursday that exploitation of children is on the rise in the country.

He urged stakeholders to take stock of the situation in light of the various international and regional human rights instruments on the Rights of the Child.

The ES, who was represented by Benedict Agwu Esq, his SA, at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) in Abuja said : “A lot of children are faced with physical, psychological, sexual and economic violence and exploitation including negative harmful practices among which are early forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and trafficking amongst other things.

“These issues have not only had a devastating effect on their lives it has also negatively impacted on their rights and access to education.”

However, Agwu vowed that the commission will continue to fight the rising incidence of harmful practices through its internal mechanism.

“The commission is member of the State Child Rights Implementation Committees of several states in Nigeria and has continued to advocate for the mainstreaming of children’s rights in relevant policies of government,” he added.

The event drew children in their numbers while several advocacy groups were ably represented at the program.

The member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Ms. Aver Gavar, called on the federal and state governments to strengthen their child protection system by increasing budgetary allocations to sectors involved in such areas.

She added that governments should establish “one-stop centres for intergrated response to child survivors of rape, child marriage, female genital mutilation and all forms of violence against children.”

According to a UNICEF report on child marriage( May 2022), “levels of child marriage are highest in West and Central Africa, where nearly 4 in 10 young women were married before age 18.”

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