Nigerian Teens Challenge Tradition

Kudirat Abiola, 15, Temitayo Asuni, 15 and Susan Ubogu, 16, want to change the law on child marriage in Nigeria. The girls started an online petition to get lawmakers to close the legal loopholes that currently enable men to enter marriages with girls under 18. But they are unfazed by things others their age might be. More than a third of girls in Nigeria end up in child marriages, and with 22 million married before the age of 18, the nation has among the highest number of child brides in Africa, according to a 2018 UNICEF report. Campaigning for human rights is second nature to Abiola, who comes from a family of prominent activists. Abiola’s grandmother, also called Kudirat, fought for Nigeria’s democracy before she was assassinated in 1996. It came three years after the military jailed Moshood Kola Abiola, the apparent victor of the annulled 1993 presidential elections and the teenage activist’s grandfather. Ubogu taught herself to code at age 10 after taking lessons on the internet and already has a software company with two games in the Google Play store. The math geek says no girl should be denied her education because of marriage. Asuni says she has been reading newspaper articles of young girls being married off to men old enough to be their fathers since elementary school. The 15-year-old says she felt helpless about it until she met Ubogu and Abiola at a workshop in December organized by local NGO to educate students about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The girls’campaign NeverYourFault specifically takes aim at a clause in Section 29 of the Nigerian constitution they say backs underage marriage.

SOURCES: CNN

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