Seven years after her husband was killed in a bomb attack launched by suspected Boko Haram terrorists on civilians at the Maiduguri Monday Market, Fatima Hussein has been struggling to look after her three sons and three daughters.
The 33 years old Fatima while speaking to Radio Ndarason International today said, life has not been easy after the demise of her husband. “With the current inflation occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot eat twice a day,” said Fatima.
The widow, whose first born was 14 years old said at the time, the wedding date of the daughter has been fixed which will take place next month. Do you believe early child marriage always come with consequences? Asked by our reporter. She responded “Yes of course! But situation forced me” answered Fatima. “I am still young, I wanted to get married too. Its obvious men these days don’t want to take care of other people’s children” she added.
“My second born (Ali) is very talented in school, his teachers are always happy with him, he used to remind me, that he wanted to become a doctor in the future, but this is just a dream” said the widow.
She added “I have started different businesses, but they collapsed due to low patronage and inadequate capital to improve the business. The business I am running can hardly support two people, but seven of us depend on it for survival, which is another reason for the failure”.
In response to the issue of child marriage, Barrister Sanusi of the Borno State ministry of justice department of child protection said that they know that poverty is the biggest issue in Nigeria, and that many people marry their children to strangers because they need money. He said that they are taking measures to resolve this issue, and if there is a smaller amount of struggling people in Nigeria, the child marriage rate will decrease. Making stricter laws will also help to curb the menace, he suggeted, adding that laws already exist, but they are not strict enough. The Ministry, he said, are working to make powerful law against child marriage in the state.
According to UNICEF, 44% of girls are married before the age of eighteen, 18% are married before the age of 15, and Nigeria has the highest number of child brides in the world, while in the North West and North East, child marriage is very common practice.