By Michael Ofulue, Osogbo
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Osun State branch, on Wednesday, decried the high rate of early child marriage and all forms of challenges confronting the Nigerian child in the society.
FIDA, a non governmental organisation made up of women lawyers in Osun vowed to continue to defend the rights of girls from all forms of danger and challenges they face in the society.
The organisation sensitised students about the effects child marriages have on girls and their future development.
Speaking at a sensitisation programme organised for female students of Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo to celebrate this year International Girl Child Day, Osun State FIDA Chairperson, Mrs Olawadamilola Olabiyi advised the girls not to stay silent when issues such as the abuse of their rights and forced marriages occur in their families.
She encouraged girls to confide in their teachers or anybody in authority that they trusted so that action could be taken to protect them.
According to FIDA Chairperson, girls should be empowered to perform very well and become great leaders and advised the girls to take their education seriously.
She noted that the organisation needed their support to be able to stop the acts of abuse of their rights.
“As we all know that the girls are the mother and the heritage of any nation
We came to educate them on the effect of early child marriage and also on what leadership entails and ensure that they were given a fairer deal in the country.”
Delivering a lecture on the topic: “Early Child Marriage”, Barr. Susan Olubumi Aderanti encouraged all girls to take control of their lives and not be damaged by what people would say against them or sway from the path which they had chosen to develop themselves.
Aderanti who said child falls under the category of 0-17 years of age said any marriage that falls under the age of 18 is child marriage, warning that they shouldn’t allow anything to truncate the plans they have for their future.
She said: “The pupils were educated on the factors that led to child marriages which included poverty, illiteracy, peer pressure, single parenting and exposure to sexual activities.
“We made them to understand that any child married under the age of 18 is forced to marry without her consent and that’s illegal and it’s punishable under the Law.
“We should do everything to guide against this and if you notice that your right is being infringed upon don’t keep silent, report to your parent or teacher. You can come to our office we are ready to fight for your nights.”
Appreciating the women lawyers for the kind gesture, a teacher of the Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo, Mrs Yemi Afolayan said the sensitisation programme would go a long way going by what is happening in the society.
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated on October 11 to empower girls and amplify their voices. The theme for 2023 is “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-Being.”
The women lawyers used the avenue to distribute over 100 sanitary pads to the students.