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THE IMPACT OF OF EARLY MARRIAGE GIRL-CHILD'S SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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THE IMPACT OF  OF EARLY MARRIAGE GIRL-CHILD'S SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT  IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Marriage is the oldest institution in the world it was instituted by God Himself in the Garden of Eden.  Marriage was not the idea of any man. It was the original idea of God Almighty. God felt the need for marriage and instituted it “And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him” Genesis chapter 2 verse 18. Marriage can also be define as a union between a man and a woman to become husband and wife with the above definition. 

Early marriage has been a common practice among many ethnic groups in the world including Nigeria. However, it has contributed to series of negative consequences both for young girls and the society in which they live. It is a violation of human rights in general and of girl’s rights in particular. Every society and culture has some basic norms and beliefs that guide the people. In Nigeria for instance, specifically the Northern Nigeria (Hausa - Fulani dominated) allowed early marriage of the girl-child. Erulkar and Bello (2007) argued that the reason for acceptance of early marriages among Northern region is to preserve the value of virginity, fears about marital sexual activity, to reduce promiscuity of the girl-child, and other socio-cultural and religious norms. However, due to the ignorance and selfish nature, more often than not they forget the effect it has on the girl- child as well as their community development. It is worrisome that the girl- child has no power to resist the offer. The effect of early marriage on the girl-child that affects her well-being and that of the society include education, lack of economic empowerment and lack of knowledge on reproductive health services which will enable them take informed decisions, enhance their ability to leverage resources and participate in community decision making.

Importantly, the factors usually put forward as reasons for the early marriage of girl-child are poverty, unwanted pregnancy, parental pressure, peer pressure and developmental stage among others.  This practice is against the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) recommendations on the rights of the children which include right to free and full consent to a marriage as recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), education, empowerment, health determination. Most societies like Nigeria has domesticated these international agreements and enacted Acts that will further enhance the rights of the children. But implementing the Acts in most Northern states has been controversial as some of the states are also being guided by Islamic laws that have a soft landing on early marriage by considering age as not a very significant factor in marriage.

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Marriage is regarded as a moment of celebration and a milestone in adult life. Sadly, the practice of early marriage gives no such cause for celebration. All too often, the imposition of a marriage partner upon a child means that a girl or boy’s childhood is cut short and their fundamental rights are compromised (UNICEF, 2005). Young girls are robbed of their youth and required to take on roles for which they are not psychologically or physically prepared. Many have no choice about the timing of marriage or their partner. Some are coerced into marriage, while others are too young to make an informed decision. Premature marriage deprives them of the opportunity for personal development as well as their rights to full reproductive health and well-being, education, and participation in civic life.

The incident of early marriage in recent time has been on the increase in Nigeria despite all the enlightenment, campaigns and awareness through formal and informal education. . However, it has contributed to series of negative consequences both for young girls and the society in which they live. It is a violation of human rights in general and of girl’s rights in particular. For both girls and boys, early marriage has profound physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional impacts, cutting off educational and employment opportunities and chances of personal growth. In Northern Nigeria where the practice is prevalent, the impact is more on girls as many of them marry early in their large numbers and with more intensity. Moreso, it has a negative trend on the girl child which include emotional and mental distress, intolerance, school drop-out, Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) disease, early widowhood, frustration and hatred for the man as observed by (Bala, 2003 They are totally dependent on their husbands and as a result of which they become unproductive. Also most of them feel like second class citizen because their educational background is nothing to write home about. They cannot express themselves in the public and as a result cannot sit in where other are.  Against this background, the study seeks to examine the impact of  of early marriage girl-child's socio-economic and educational development in Nigeria.

1.3     OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The broad objective of this study is to examine the impact of  of early marriage girl-child's socio-economic and educational development  in Nigeria. Specifically, the study seeks:

i.          To investigate  the perceived causes of early marriage in Northern Nigeria.

ii.        To determine the impact of  early marriage on girl-child’s  education development.

iii.      To ascertain the effect of early marriage on girl-child’s socio-economic development

iv.      To establish the possible ways to address the challenge of early marriage of girl - child in Nigeria.

1.4     RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The research is guided by the following question:

i.          What are the perceived causes of early marriage in Northern Nigeria?

ii.        What are  the impact of  early marriage on girl-child’s  education development?

iii.      What are the effect of early marriage on girl-child’s socio-economic development?

iv.      What are the possible ways to address the challenge of early marriage of girl - child in Nigeria?

1.5     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is hoped that this study will enable Nigeria parents to give equal opportunities to the training of their children. Instead of giving the girls away in marriage pre-maturally. It is also hoped that the study will enable Nigeria law-makers at all levels of government to enact laws that will make early marriage a punishable offense.It is equally hoped that the result of their study will encourage student to abstain from early marriage or to reduce it to the minimum. Empirically, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge and serve as a reference material to scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies on related topic.

1.6       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study borders on the impact of  of early marriage girl-child's socio-economic and educational development  in Nigeria. The study will further ascertain the causes of early marriage and proffer possible ways to address the challenge of early marriage of girl - child in Nigeria.The study is delimited to selected secondary schools in Minna Local Government Area in Niger State, in Nigeria.

1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only to secondary schools in Minna Local Government Area in Niger State, in Nigeria.. Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other secondary schools  in other  States within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint  encountered during the  research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

1.8     DEFINITION OF TERMS

Marriage: Is the union between a man and a woman to become husband and wife.

Early Marriage: Is the union of a boy and a girl and a man to become husband and wife below the age of 18 years.

Sexual Harassment: This consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, that denies, limits or provides different treatment.

Social Environment: As that consisting of people who have the capacity to interact and manifest a degree of vulnerability to the variable under discussion.

Forced Marriage: This involve varying degrees of force, coercion or deception, ranging from emotional pressure by family or community members to abduction and imprisonment.   


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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