Muhammadu Sanusi II was a headline speaker at a “Strategies to Improve the Protection of Girl Child in Nigeria” conference in Abuja this week. The key areas the conference focused on included early marriage, violence against girls and kidnapping.
During his speech, Sanusi suggested that the answers to the issues such as early marriage may not be as easy as simply setting 18 as the minimum age for marriage.
According to Channels TV,
The monarch, who was also against setting 18 years as minimum age for marriage, said the first step to addressing the issue was to address the root causes of poverty in the communities.
“If you tell a man in the village, ‘don’t marry your child off till the age of 18’, what does she do between the age of 11 and 18?
Instead he criticised the current Federal Government’s Revenue Sharing Formula
“We need to understand that the problem begins from the economy and from the management of the resources of the country. He condemned a system where the states get the residual of the nation’s revenue after the Federal Government had taken a large portion of it.
“These are the states that are supposed to provide education and healthcare to hundreds of millions of people. The states are staved of funds,” the Emir said.
The Nigerian Constitution does not establish a minimum age of marriage. The Child Rights Act, which was passed in 2003, sets the age of marriage at 18 years-old. According to the Child Not Bride organization, only 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states have adopted this act. As a result, in some areas of the country the minimum age of marriage can be as low as 12 years-old.