NIGERIA AND CHILD MARRIAGE: LEGAL ISSUES, COMPLICATIONS, IMPLICATIONS, PROSPECTS AND SOLUTIONS
Child marriage is often deployed as a response to crisis, considered by families and communities to be the best possible means of protecting children. Fear of rape and sexual violence, of unwanted pregnancies outside marriage, of family shame and dishonour, of homelessness and hunger or starvation were all reported by parents and children as legitimate reasons for child marriage in some localities.Poverty, weak legislative frameworks and enforcement, harmful traditional practices, gender discrimination and lack of alternative opportunities for girls (especially education) are all major drivers of child marriage. However this researchers finds in addition to the above mentioned that lack of political will coupled with multiplicities of laws accounts for non-apprehension and prosecution of offenders thereby allowing them to hide under religion and continue to perpetrate crime against humanity. This study is an attempt to fill the void and chart the way out into a brighter and not bleak future for the girl child using data in our content analysis. We hope that stakeholders most especially government and the National Assembly can rise to the challenge and harmonise all laws necessary to deter child marriage in Nigeria.