In late 2012, Maimuna Abdullahi was given out in marriage for a dowry of N35,000. Maimuna was 13 and her husband, Saidu was twice her age. Maimuna was abused by Saidu and locked away. She ran to her father’s house, hoping to find comfort, but was beaten and returned to Saidu. The humiliated Saidu, beat her up as well. After some time, she fled again, first to a sympathetic aunt in a nearby village and then to her cousin in Kaduna. When Maimuna went to the nearby Tattali school, with her bruises, she was taken to the hospital. The doctors discovered that she was badly malnourished and her teacher said the whip marks on her back may last a lifetime.
Saidu waited the customary 3 months to make sure there was no pregnancy before divorcing her according to Sharia laws.
Maimuna considers herself to be lucky. She said, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but even if I get married, I want to have some education to back me up. I pray that what I’ve done will help my younger ones, that my parents learn from my experience of running away from home.”
-culled from www.naij.com.
Maimuna is indeed one of the lucky ones. Many child brides die at childbirth or in the hands of their abusive husbands. Some never get an education. Some others get fistula during childbirth and are discarded by their husbands. 43% of females in Nigeria are married before their 18th birthday. This is sad, but it is our reality. The Child’s Right Act of 2003 prohibits child marriage of any form. As a matter of fact, any person who marries a child, or to whom a child is betrothed to, or who promotes the marriage of a child, or who betroths a child, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000, or 5 years imprisonment or both. Then why are the convictions not happening?