Education has been identified as a solution to the problem of early marriages in Africa. This position was made known by wife of the President of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, while receiving female delegates of the Africa Parliamentary Union, at the State House, Abuja on Wednesday 7th November, 2018.
Mrs. Buhari said girls need a healthy and safe transition to adulthood as well as a certain level of maturity and understanding in order to make an informed decision on the choice of a life partner.
Mrs. Buhari was represented by wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo.
“Through my Future Assured Programme,” she said, “I have witnessed firsthand what interrupted childhood could do to the self-esteem of young girls, in some instances, thwarting promising careers.”
She spoke of other challenges of marital relationships like complications of childbirth such as VVF, interruption of academic pursuit and curtailment of economic opportunities.
She called on the parliamentarians to use their position to articulate measures that will address the issue within cultural sensitivities of our different communities.
She also urged them to consider what form of support and empowerment could be given to girls that are already in these marriages.
“Their dreams do not have to end because of the circumstances they have found themselves in.” she said.
Speaking earlier, head of the delegation and Senate President of Zimbabwe, Hon. Mabel Chinomona, said women face numerous challenges like lack of political representation, violence, intimidation, early child marriages, and lack of equal opportunities in critical areas. It is therefore important that women meet and share experiences.
“Against this background, women parliamentarians must unite and support each other in coming up with strategies and policies that address challenges faced by women together in order to make a difference as we drive for equal opportunities for all.” She said.
“For us parliamentarians,” she said, “we have critical role to play as we legislate and provide oversight on government activities, in doing so, we appreciate support from our mothers the first ladies for their activities that seek to empower women.
The delegates are in Abuja for the 41st Conference and 73rd Executive Committee Session of Africa Parliamentary Union.
Those that attended the event include Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, APC Woman Leader, Mrs. Salamatu Bewa, and Chairman NACA, Mrs. Pauline Tallen.