Aisha was barely fifteen when her dad got her married as the sixth wife of Mallam Guduru all for a piece of land in the village.
Aisha saw her first period at her husband’s house and after that day, he would always make her come to him, claiming he needed a child
from her young blood to continue his blood line one that was untainted by the rather unpleasant ages of his other wives, this continued till Aisha conceived. Her pregnancy was a hard one as she was but a child carrying another and she still had to carry out adult responsibilities like child rearing and household management with the older wives. Aisha didn’t have an easy pregnancy, she lost a lot of strength due to lack of care that was essential for pregnant women to have healthy pregnancy and safe labor. When it was time for her to birth her child,labor was proving to be a Herculean task for her petite frame. In the end she lost a lot of blood and birthed a premature baby boy.
Aisha is one of the many girls forced into child marriage, against their will and in exchange hefty dowries are collected by their poverty stricken Dads.
Their lives are upended, with them trying to survive in such abusive environment, as they cannot escape the situation.
Some are taken advantage of, raped, beaten up by their husband and not catered for in the long run, they develop mental and emotional sometimes physical illness which drastically reduces their life expectancy level. They can barely take care of themselves and adding a child to their mix will render them useless.
Child marriage is defined as marriage between an older man and a young girl barely out into puberty, it is a culture still encouraged and practiced especially in the rural areas of Nigeria, Some of these girls do not reach the age of 14 before they are forced to marry men that are thrice their age, only for their father to have huge dowries for selling them off. An estimated 44% of girls in Nigeria are married before their 18th birthday and the country, also, records the 11th highest rate of child marriage (UNICEF 2013). Apart from its micro consequences on fertility, health, and wellbeing, child marriage has far-reaching macroeconomic and sustainability consequences for Nigeria; as an outcome of child marriage, births increase, and the population explosion undermines the government’s ability to effectively plan and mobilize resources for sustainable development.
Child marriage is an evil that should be destroyed from it’s roots, one such way would be to get the leaders at all levels to join hands and implement laws against such early marriages. Another way would be to create massive awareness for it’s consequences so more people would rise to the fight against it. Child marriage should be brought to an end and these girls have a right to a healthy childhood, one without the trauma of early marriage.