In a campaign dubbed “Raise the Age”, three Nigerian teenagers are fighting for the removal of a clause in Section 29 of the Nigerian constitution. The clause stipulates that “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age”, so facilitating underage marriage.
Not for the first time, Kenya is discussing the possibility of amending the Sexual Offences Act to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16 years. The discussion is highlighting the issue of predatory exposure and the responsibility of society in safeguarding the rights of children.
Following the invasion of villages and killing of local farmers in Benue by Fulani herdsmen , young girls at the Internally Displaced Persons camps are being married off by their families because of the lack of food, clean water and sleeping materials. The Nigerian government is silent about this and these teenage girls are at risk of contracting HIV/Aids.
Laws in Mauritius allow minors to marry while some cultures on the island are tolerant of child marriage.
More than half of girls in South Sudan are married before the age of 18. Endemic conflict and food shortages are only exacerbating the problem.
Though several African countries have adopted legal frameworks to end early marriage in the wake of the first African Union Girls Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, in November 2015, the slow rate of reduction and rapid population growth are making progress difficult, writes Linus Unah.
The Gambian parliament has passed the Children’s Amendment Bill bill banning child marriage, as part of the government’s commitment to fight and prevent the practice. The bill orders that offenders will face 20 years in prison. The provision comes after President Yahya Jammeh’s recent declaration of a ban on child marriage. The landmark decision has been hailed by many rights groups and citizens.
African First Ladies at the just ended African Union (AU) summit in Rwanda made a commitment to continue fighting child marriage across the continent and resolved to ensure the launch of the campaign to End Child Marriage continues in 2017. Almost three quarters of governments are yet to launch the campaign, which raises awareness on the effects of child marriage and calls on AU member states to enact laws, setting the minimum age of marriage at 18 years.
Tanzania has passed a provision, which stipulates that men who impregnate or marry schoolgirls will face 30 years in prison as part of the government’s commitment to fight and prevent child marriage. The country has one the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world, and to eliminate the scourge, the government has resolved to take tougher measures in the form of lengthy jail terms to protect school-girls.