I saw this picture on Twitter a couple of days ago and it just broke my heart to pieces. A lady, Aisha Yesufu, put up these pictures and said the little girl was about to get married to an adult security man somewhere in Kaduna State. She felt helpless and went ahead to cry out for help on social media.
I have never seen a sadder bride nor a more pained child. She looked so disappointed in the entire charade, in her parents and in the system generally. I do not know how old she is but she look like she is not even up to a teenage yet, how then is this possible that she is being married off to an adult male?
I believe our judicial system in Nigeria, regardless of culture or religion, needs to do far more in protecting the girl-child. The state governments in these areas prone to child-marriages need to raise heavy awareness with the people at the grassroots levels on the ills of giving their young children pout in arranged marriages. You simply cannot pawn your daughter out in exchange of a debt-settlement or what-not. These acts should be punishable by the law if only we take them more seriously.
Not too long ago, there was a highly publicised case of a 14-year-old girl who was forced into marriage but then went ahead to poison her husband and his friends shortly after the union. These are some of the end results of forcing children into early marriages. Some of these forced child-marriages end up far worse. We must take a bold step towards ending them. We all must.