Nigeria and five other ECOWAS member states are among the 20 countries with highest rates of child marriage in the world.
The ECOWAS Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender, Dr Siga Fatima Jague states this on Monday in Abuja at the opening of the experts meeting for the Adoption of the ECOWAS Child Policy and Strategic Plan of Action 2019-2023, and the Roadmap on Prevention and Response to Child Marriage.
She listed the West African countries to include; Niger: 76%, Mali: 55%, Burkina Faso: 52%, Guinea: 51%, Nigeria: 43%, and Sierra Leone 39%.
Jague said the sub-region also has the highest prevalence rates of child marriage in Africa and the second highest in the world, after South Asia.
She said: “While ECOWAS Member States continue to implement measures to end child marriage, including ratification of and adherence to extant international instruments seeking to eliminate child marriage, rates remain very high.
“This also, is despite the work done at the level of the African Union and the launch of the Campaign in 2014 to end Early Child Marriage on the continent with the commitment of 11 West African Countries to put an end to child marriage.”
She therefore, said the unacceptable rates of child marriage in West Africa called for immediate efforts to eliminating the menace.
Jague noted that all efforts in relation to economic integration and the focus on macro-economic progress will be grossly undermined if the enthronement of child rights are not pursed vigorously.