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43 percent of girls are ‘married off before secondary school’

43 percent of girls are ‘married off before secondary school’
July 08
16:46 2017

Maryam Uwais, special adviser to the president on social protection plan, says 43 percent of girls in the country are married off before they get into secondary school.

Uwais said this on Saturday while speaking at the maiden graduation ceremony of Noble Hall Leadership Academy for Girls in Abuja.

She explained that almost all the young girls drop out from school after marriage.

The president’s aide said in the north-west and north-east, only about 30 percent of the women are literate.

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“In our country today, 43 percent of the girls are married off before they get into secondary school. Almost all of the girls drop out of school when they are married. In the north-west, north-east, as few as 30 percent of our women are literate,” she said.

“About 13 million Nigerian school children between the ages of six and 11 do nit have access to primary school education. The eight states that have the worst indicators on child marriage also have the lowest indices of low child education, highest malnutrition, highest number of street children, highest number of under-15 girls giving birth which places them at the highest risk of maternal child and infant mortality. Poverty is highest in north-east states.

“An extra year in your secondary school has an earning capacity of 15 to 25 percent. When girls start earning an income, they invest 80 to 90 percent in their home whereas the men put in 50 percent. So we must reflect on how many intelligent women do not have an opportunity to go to school.”

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She advised the graduates to think out of the box as they to work towards achieving their dreams.

Uwais said it would be challenging taking care of their homes and following their dreams.

On her part, Aloma Mukhtar, a former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), said politics is the only area where women are lagging behind.

She said though there are quite a number of women in parliament, the figure is small when compared to that of their male counterparts.

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While calling on women to “stand up” and set out to achieve whatever goals they set for themselves, the former chief justice said, “nothing is impossible”.

“The only area where I can say we are doing badly is in the area of politics. Although, we have so many women in the legislative houses but the number is negligible compared to the male,” Mukhtar said.

“We had deputy governors which started during the military era when the then military president appointed Mrs Latifa Okunmi as the first (female) deputy governor. We have many deputy governors but we have only one from the north, Pallen Tallen

“But when you see that governorship is eluding the women, it will be a tall dream for women to produce a president. Today, throughout the world, women are making positive impacts in development and governance.

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“Women can stand up, we can be what we want to be, we can follow our dreams and achieve whatever goal we set for ourselves. Nothing is impossible.”

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