A new report reveals that the rate of women and girls getting married before reaching 18 years old in rural areas in Nigeria surpasses double the rate of the same in urban areas.
According to the Statistical Snapshots 2021 reports, about forty-six percent of women between the ages of 20 and 46 in rural areas in Nigeria got married or got into an informal union before reaching 18.
However, according to the report which was launched on August 16, 2022, it was only about twenty percent of women within the same age group but living in urban Nigeria that got married before 18.
Still, the findings of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2021 survey show that the overall rate of child marriage in Nigeria had deteriorated. For instance, the rate of women aged between 20 and 49 that got married before reaching 18 declined from 44.1 percent in 2016 to 34 percent in 2021.
Nigeria stands among the African countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage. UNICEF estimates that about 650 million women and girls globally get married while they are still children. Yet, Nigeria is among the five countries including India, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia that form half of that figure.
One main reason slowing the abolishment of child marriages in Nigeria is the failure of the state and federal governments to enforce laws on children’s rights. However, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria is positive that the federal and state governments in Nigeria will use the findings from the study to make informed decisions and adequate budgetary planning.
However, he insists that while the country has realized improvements concerning the slight decline in the rate of child marriages, there is a long way to go towards promoting the well-being of children in Nigeria.
Other significant improvements include the reduction of child mortality rate and the improvement in birth registration rates and exclusive breastfeeding.