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Enugu State outlaws girl-child marriages

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THE Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council has banned girl-child marriages and other negative gender-based practices in the state.

This was disclosed in a communique signed by the Chairman of the council Lawrence Agubuzu, which was issued after a conference between the council and Women Aid Collective on Wednesday.

The council criticised violence against women and the girl-child while re-stating its commitment to abolishing obnoxious practices against them.

“We are committed to implementing the Supreme Court judgment that females have a right to inherit property from the family estate, whether married or not. We are also committed to actions to codify communal laws and regulations that will protect women and girls,” he said.

Agubuzu also noted that traditional widowhood practices, including disinheritance of widows, would be prohibited as the council was committed to including women in leadership and decision making.

The conference was organised in partnership with the Ford Foundation with support from Enugu State Ministries of Gender Affairs, Chieftaincy Matters and Justice and the 50/50 Action Women of the state.

Girl-child marriage has been prevalent among several communities in Nigeria.

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The country has the 11th highest rate of child marriage globally, with about 44 per cent of girls being married off before attaining adulthood.

Beyond its negative effects on fertility and general health of the victims, child marriage undermines the government’s ability to plan and mobilise resources for sustainable development effectively.

While the country already has laws established to tackle this menace, they are hardly being enforced in some states due to political, cultural and religious reasons.

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