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Parents’ New Strategy To Evade Forced Girl Child Marriage In Gombe

……..How Victims Escape Trap In Gombe Community

William Attah, Gombe

Women and female children in Malam Sidi town of Kwami Local Government Area of Gombe State now escape being married out at tender age with the support of their mothers.

According to Malam Abubakar Usman, Sarkin Kofar Ajiya (the gate keeper in the palace of the District Head of Malam Sidi town), many parents have resorted to running to the palace to report how children are forced into marriage or plans of marrying them out against their will.

In an interview with our correspondent in Malam Sidi town, Abubakar Usman, 42, said many women and children come to the palace from surrounding villages to report to the palace such cases which they waste no time in setting the children free through the court that is just beside the palace.

He said, marrying out girls in Malam Sidi town has been very limited but that many cases of girl Child marriage come from the villages around Malam Sidi.

According to him, “we have cases of child marriages but only in the villages. These girls run to the palace here to complain that they are being forced to get married and, in this palace, we do follow up their cases and defend them”.

He stated further that, ” it is the parents of these girls that come to complain sometimes. We do listen to them and even if it means going to court, we go there to dissolve whatever that must have taken place”.

Malam Abubakar expressed his personal disagreement on child marriage saying, “my call is that girls should not be married out at a tender age less than 20 years because they will have many problems such as VVF among many others. They should be allowed to attain ages 20 or 21”.

He added that “child marriage is not good at all as the girls are supposed to be allowed to acquire western and Islamic education. Without education, we’ll be living life in retrogression”.

Some girls living in Malam Sidi also bore their minds and experience to our correspondent about early girl child marriage. According to 16-year-old Aisha Ahmed, though out of school at JSS 3, she said her parents stopped her from going to school without giving her any reason.

She added that her parents have not started talking to her about marriage, but she feels her not going to school might be due to the financial constraints of her parents.

She said, she is willing to return to school because of the benefits therein. She also revealed that she has a boyfriend and that even if she gets married, she will be glad to continue schooling if her husband allows her.

On her part, Rakiya Mohammed, also of Malam. Sidi town, ” young girls go to schools in this area unlike before where girls are married out at age 15, 16 or 17″. She said she is 20 years old and in NCE 2 studying Primary Education Studies (PES) at Federal College of Education (Tech) Gombe.

According to her, “we hardly experience forced marriage here, though it used to happen to young girls before but not now and it was due to ignorance that some girls are forced into marriage at tender age”.

An elderly woman, Hauwa Galadima who said she is above 42 years, ” educating girls is very important not only boys alone. Marrying girls out at ages 14, 15, 16 do come with a lot of problems or challenges especially during child birth or pregnancy itself as some end up going through caesarian section (CS)”.

She said that is the reason why she is an advocate that female children should be allowed to go to school, grow matured before marriage adding, “even if a child does not go very far educationally, the girl child should be able to have basic education. It will help her to care for her home, children, relate well with her husband among many other advantages”.

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