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Early Marriage: ldeal For Teenagers?

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Early marriage literarily is termed to be a time in a young girl’s life that she is being forced to get into marriage before attaining maturable stage of involving the young girl into marriage. To my view as an individual, the stages that I suggest could be termed “EARLY” for a girl to get into marriage is between the age bracket of (0-17yrs). At this stage the young girl is expected to be in such a time in her life that she is being tutored either academically or morally by her parents/guardian. Academically, she should be in school in order to be literate and versatile in the field of her study, but she is not, she should ensure she gets through the primary and secondary school, obtain her certificate to be able to make her have a focus and direction in life.

To be honest and sincere, young girls that venture into such act so early in life might find it difficult to attain and be exposed to a certain level in this our dispensation. Technically, she has to have a handwork that will earn her some savings in future as a young lady. As we all know the world generally is becoming a global world and as well dynamic. She as a young girl ought to be hardworking, skillful and knowledgeable domestically and academically as well.

Domestically, through out the age bracket of her life growing up, she should be under the tutelage of a guardian or parents who will direct her and educate her on the basic ethics/norms in the society and as well as domestic chores that should be known to a young girl of her age. As the saying goes “Educate the Girl Child, You Educate a Nation.” When a young girl is being encouraged to go into early, marriage, it deprives the girl the opportunity that is availed to every girl of her age to learn all the rudiments involved in a women’s life. As we all are aware that these days no man is ready to get a woman to constitute a nuisance and thereby become a liability to them and the society. Most men are always encouraged when their woman is hardworking and productive in the home. You ought to have something to contribute not necessarily financially but in other areas. When there is a vacuum in a home you tend to become a liability rather than an asset that ought to be. We should know as my own opinion, that marriage is not all about a woman getting into it and just giving birth to children, but there are more to it than just that. When a woman is allowed to be educated to a certain level she will be able to contribute positively not only on her marriage but in the society at large. She should be able to contribute meaningfully to the society at large. When a young girl is educated before getting into marriage, she will really have what to give, because life is and should be a “give and take thing.” ‘Remember this, you cannot give out what you do not have.” You should not always stand to be at the receiving end but you should give out as well.

When a child is being forced into early marriage, she has already been tied down to being just a “furniture with no use or value as a human being. Having said all these, we are all able to understand that early marriage has nothing positive to offer rather detrimental to her as an individual and the society at large. My suggestion towards this issue that is rampaging our society is firstly, there should be adequate campaign from the grassroot that will fight against the menace. At the rural areas there should be creation of awareness to the families, letting them know the dangers that is involved in such act.

Secondly, legally, there should be a law that will kick against such act and make it illegal for any parents to have her child given out early in marriage.

Thirdly, in our churches they should be educated towards that area, there could be programmes such as talk shows, seminars etc. Letting the sister and parents in church understand the negative impact of early marriage to our families and society at large.

This will go a long way to disseminate the information on early marriage in our society. Early marriage has a whole lot of adverse effect to the individual and society at large. Within the age bracket that I have attributed like the ages of (9-12 years) of age, health  wise or medically it is not adviseable for a young girl to go through child bearing to avoid having medical complication to her. When a young girl is exposed to such hurdle it steals away some talents in her that would be discovered in her if being groomed in the proper manner.

As a young girl, in the society, the child has the right to say no when she is being forced into getting married early, because with that she can demand for her right to education to any level of her choice.

Economically, the society should make sure that there is employment opportunity for the parents to be able to cater for the upbringing of the child, because most times parents force their child into early marriage due to the circumstances and the poverty that has enveloped the society at large. For instance, when the suitor so to say has the money or is rich and wealthy, that will make the parents to be pushed into getting their child into early marriage, so as to have their in-laws to cater for them and probably the girl’s younger once. But when they are in abject poverty that will deprive them the opportunity of giving the child what rightly belongs to her when a child is pre-mature at heart and age she might know little or nothing when it comes to handling issues about relationships, when there are misunderstanding on the home, she might have difficulties on making the right decisions and making sure that they don’t jeopardize or endanger her future in life. Early marriage, is detrimental to a child because the child will have to endanger her self in the sense that when issues that needs to be handled comes up, there might be pressure so much that she will be forced out of marriage and divorce might be the next option for such a child.

Early marriage for a child has been an issue that makes a child to be deprived of her dignity and respect as a woman. When you cheapen yourself to early marriage, the respect that should be adequately given to such a child will not be there. The man in question will tend to take the child for a ride. She would be disregarded and her opinion or suggestion might not be taken serious, because they will always think she is still a child. In terms of sex education she might not be knowledgeable about sex and when the man has that feeling, lead to the man getting his satisfaction else where thereby involving on extra-marital affair, that as well will also push the girl into opting for a divorce early in life.

With these views of mine, I know that it will go a long way in making early marriage an act that will be abolished totally in our society.

 

Ucheoma Dike/Damiete Bobmanuel

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Women

‘It Is Time To End Violence Against Women’

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While pervasive, gender-based violence may seem to appear inevitable in our own clime, African Women Lawyers, Rivers State Chapter, believe that it can and must be prevented. To them, stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transforming harmful social norms, and empowers women and girls.
With women and girls living in danger around the world owing to conflict, climate-related natural disasters, food insecurity and human rights violations, which in turn exacerbate violence against women, this great body of women lawyers have decided to raise their voice against all shades of violence against women whether it be domestic or official
In pursuant of their aims and objectives, AWLA commemorate land mark dates set by the African Union and United Nations to raise awareness about the plight of women and children.
As the world engages in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the body avails itself the opportunity to highlight some violent and of course harmful practices Nigerian women are continually subjected to, as well as condemn such and create the awareness among the populace that perpetrators of such inhumane acts on a folk that deserves and desires protection in all spheres, will receive a bang of the law.
This year, AwLA is using the window provided by the United Nations via the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, to contribute their own quota especially as it relates to condemning in concrete terms, societal practices that run foul to the healthy development of the women.
Activities outlined in commemorate of the 2021 version of the 16 days of activisms against gender based violence include; advocacy and sensitization visits to Khana Local Government and Oginigba in  Obio/Akpor Local Government on 26th and 30th November respectively while free legal clinic takes place in Port Harcourt Local Government on 29th of November.
While the program lasts, stakeholders are expected to brainstorm on how to solve the challenges faced by women, while women will be enlightened on their right as well as be sensitized on how to seek redress.
In a chat with The Tide woman Editor, Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi, the Coordinator of the African Women Lawyers Association, Hilda Desmond-Ihekaire, said her association is quite proactive on issues that bother on women and children’s rights.
She encouraged women to speak out against injustice meted on them by people who are supposed to protect their interest, stating that the era of accepting every awkward treatment against them is over. She enjoined them to avail themselves the opportunity of the free legal clinic provided at this season to vent out their grievances.
The AWLA coordinator revealed that her association is already handling matters of gender based violence in court at the moment and would stop at nothing until the public comes to appreciate that women are also human that should not be treated unjustly.
AWLA is a group of women lawyers with the aim and objective of protecting the right and interest of women and children in Africa. They do this through multi facetted approach, using advocacy, sensitization campaign and probono litigation services on women and children’s issues
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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Women

NAWOJ Moves To Check Violence Against Women, Girls … Seeks More Action, Resources

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Chairman, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Rivers State Chapter, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana, has called for strengthened actions and resources to address violence against women and girls in the society.
Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, November 25, 2021 to commemorate this year’s 16-Days of Activism, with the theme: ‘Orange the world: End Violence Against Women Now’, the Chairman, NAWOJ, Rivers State Chapter stated that violence against women and girls reached pandemic proportion especially during the COVID-19 hit that resulted to lockdown.
Serekara stressed that as lockdown measures were implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, domestic violence intensified as school closures and economic strains left women and girls poorer, out of school and out of jobs, making them more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, forced marriage, and harassment.
“We believe  that ending violence against women will require strengthened actions by the government through more investment in women and girls,” she said, regretting that formal reports of domestic violence have decreased, yet survivors find it harder to seek help and access support through the regular channels. She further noted that the 16 days of activism is an expression that gender-based violence though not inevitable, can and must be prevented.
“While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls  and teenage girls who are employed as house helps . Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights,” Serekara added.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Women

NAWOJ Seeks Adequate Protection, Provision For Children

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Aware of the numerous problems children face especially with the current harsh economy of our nation, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Rivers State has stressed the need to protect the lives of children while investing in their future.
The association said this during this year’s commemoration of “The Universal Children’s Day”, that had “investing in our children means investing in our future”, as its theme.
This was contained in a statement signed by the association’s Chairman and Secretary, Mrs Susan Serekara-Nwikhana and Dr Ngozi Anosike, respectively.
The statement described the essence of the day as a time to improve the welfare for all children.
“NAWOJ is using this special day to call on governments at all levels to ensure that every child is given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually, while cautioning parents against reproducing the number of children they cannot properly care for but give them out at their tender ages as house helps thereby exposing them to all forms of abuse.
“NAWOJ appreciates the fact that to invest in our nation requires that the child that is hungry is fed, the child that is sick nursed, the child that is backward helped, the delinquent child reclaimed, and the orphan and the unsheltered are secured”.
It commended the Governor of the State, Chief Nyesom Wike for ensuring that the Rehabilitation Centre at Iriebe is operating at optimum capacity.
NAWOJ recalls that during the commissioning of the rehabilitation Centre, Governor Wike magnanimously doled out N250million to the ministry of social welfare, just to ensure regular power supply and smooth running of the facility, a gesture NAWOJ appreciates so much as it translates to giving the children a sense of belonging.
The association also stressed the need to save the lives of new born babies in maternity homes and hospitals and called on Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company to as a matter of necessity ensure regular power supply to those facilities.
The association in the statement regretted the death of premature children in the Intensive Care Unit of OPM Free Hospital at Aluu axis of the State as a result of power outage.
“Universal Children’s Day, celebrated annually on the 20th of November, is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children that have experienced violence in forms of abuse, exploitation, and discrimination”, the statement added.

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