Marrying or giving an under-age girl into marriage (Early/ Forced Marriage)

Forced marriage/child marriage is a marriage in which an under aged girl or minor is given out for marriage without her consent or against her will. This occurs when the girl is below the statutory age of ‘18’. In other words, it is the marriage of a girl before the statutory year recognized by law.
Early marriage is the act of giving out a female child for marriage at a very tender age, mostly when the girl knows nothing about her rights. In Nigeria, early marriage comes in the form of child betrothal; this involves marrying out a girl child immediately after she is delivered. While forced marriage on the other hand is simply marrying out a girl against her wish, it could also be referred to as induced marriage. In some cases the girls are withdrawn from school or even denied access to education. There are cases in which parents have forced their grown daughters into marriages against their wishes either due to cultural, social, economic or political reasons.
Child marriage is usually referred to as any formal marriage or informal union between a child under the age of 18 and an adult or another child. A child cannot give consent to marriage or consummation of same. Child Marriage in the real sense is Serial Child Sexual Abuse

Safety tips for girls against early forced marriage:
* Girls should be encouraged to speak to trusted adults that can help or speak up to agencies set up to curb this menace
*Parents of such girls should be educated.
In states such as the FCT, Ekiti State, Ondo state, etc where the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Laws and Child Rights Laws have been domesticated, the punishment for forced marriage is a maximum of 2years imprisonment or a fine of #500,000 or both and conviction to a fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 5 years or both to such fine and imprisonment respectively.
Section 21 of The Child’s Right Act provides for Prohibition of child betrothal or marriage and set the punishment for child marriage and betrothal to a fine of N500,000; or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment. This applies to a person-
(a) who marries a child; or (b) to whom a child is betrothed; or (c) who promotes the marriage of a child; or (d) who betroths a child.
In Nigeria except 11 states that are yet to domesticate the Act including Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Zamfara, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa, Child marriage is outlawed.
It is important to note that though Kwara and Kaduna have also domesticated the Child’s Right Act. The provisions on Child marriage differs. By Section 24(3) of Kaduna State Child Protection Law, A child of 14 years has a right to contract a marriage under Islamic Law though the age of majority is 18 years.
In Kwara, It is evident from sec 274 of the Kwara State Child Rights Law, 2007 where ‘a child is defined as any person under the age of 16’ that a child of 16 year old in Kwara may get married as she is not a child.