Incidence of Child Marriage in Nigeria: An Appraisal of the Legal and Policy Responses


The practice of child marriage is one that cuts across various ethnicities in the world including Nigeria. Child marriage occurs in instances where either parties or both parties to the marriage is below the age of 18 years. In most cases, it is discovered that the girl child is usually the victim of this practice because of the inherent societal views that govern the perception of girl children in the society even in present times irrespective of the challenges associated with this practice. The international community has frowned at this practice and addresses the problem through its legal and policy framework. Nigeria has also keyed into the international agenda on the face of it but still struggles with eradicating the practice. The objective of this paper is to access the legal and policy framework and its relevance in addressing the practice of child marriage, particularly in Nigeria. The paper adopts the doctrinal method of research. The findings are that the law as it is does not do so much in protecting children from being betrothed or given out in marriage. It is recommended that the National Assembly should have the exclusive rights to legislate on child right issues to do away with the issue of domestication by states and the marriage legislation be amended to accommodate strictly marriage to persons above the age of 18 years.

Keywords: Marriage, Child Rights Act, Child Marriage, Child Rights, Nigeria.