By Victor Ernest with agency report
The Niger State Government has warned parents against withdrawing female children from school for early marriage.
Hajia Fatima Madugu, Commissioner for Education, gave the warning.
In a chat with NAN, Fatima explained that the major challenge the government of Niger state is facing is that parents withdraw ”their female children from school for early marriage.”
”We are not going to tolerate this anymore; we have had enough of that. There is an act specially designed for that purpose and we shall apply it.
”Any person, who attempts to withdraw a child for early marriage, will have to face the wrath of the law,” she said.
She said that the Ministry of Education had begun a sensitisation through radio jingles, TV talk shows and other mediums targeted at exposing the dangers of early marriage.
”The girl-child should be allowed to explore her potential; she should be allowed to achieve her dream no matter her religion.
”If the girl-child is withdrawn from school, she would have been cheated and this is not good for the country.”
The commissioner cautioned parents against citing poverty as a reason for child abuse, saying that the state was poised to take stern measures against parents involved in that.
Fatima urged that Poverty should not be an excuse for child labour; adding that, one should not force a child to hawk instead of going to school.
”Hawking is a molestation and an abuse of the child involved. In Niger, we will not tolerate that. A task force has been set up to fish out those engaged in that,” she said.
She explained that children forced into the streets to hawk were prone to risks like rape, kidnapping and trafficking.