NAN – Canada and Nigeria are collaborating to end child, early and forced marriages in the country, the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria said on Thursday.
A statement by the Public Affairs Officer of the Canadian High Commission in Abuja, Ms. Ezinne Uluocha, said a significant reduction in child marriage would ensure a better society.
The statement said the High Commission was collaborating with Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, a Nigerian Non-Governmental Organisation, to highlight the worldwide issue of child marriage as it affects Nigeria.
It stated, “The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Perry Calderwood, is collaborating with Ms. Amina Hanga, Executive Secretary of Nigerian NGO, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative.
“The NGO forms part of the ‘Girls Not Brides’ network, which was awarded the Government of Canada Diefenbaker Human Rights and Freedom Award in Ottawa in November, 2014.
“Ms Hanga, along with a representative from an India-based sister organisation, and a member of the Board of Directors, accepted the award on behalf of Girls Not Brides.”
The envoy noted that child marriage hindered the achievement of the sixth phase of the Millennium Development Goals, which is expected to be met by all countries by the end of this year.
He said ensuring that child marriage was meaningfully included in the post-2015 global development agenda was a top priority for the Canadian government.
“Child, early and forced marriages have hindered advancement of six of the eight MDGs. The six MDGs are: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; gender equality; child mortality; maternal health; combat HIV and other diseases.
“A significant reduction in its prevalence would result in more developed, just and prosperous societies,” it said.
It said the high commission would on January 15, host a reception marking the showing of ‘Too Young to Wed’, a video highlighting the worldwide issue of child marriage.
According to it, the video has been shown in the US, UK, Argentina, Portugal, Finland, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Senegal and Ghana among other countries.
The statement said Canada had helped to create international momentum against child marriage.
It said, “Canada addresses child, early and forced marriage through several health, poverty alleviation and education international development assistance programmes.
“In October 2013, Foreign Minister Baird announced N5m to address the causes and consequences of child, early and forced marriage around the world. These funds were used for programmes in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.”