Dear Family and friends,

720 million girls and women alive today were child brides (The International Center for Research on Women -ICRW). 23 million of these girls and women currently live in Nigeria, which according to UNICEF houses the highest number of child brides in Africa.

Child marriage violates numerous human rights; including consensual sex (which can have severe mental health and emotional consequences for young girls because they are at a formative stage of psychological development), access to reproductive and sexual health care, education, employment, freedom of movement, and the right to consensual marriage.

Child brides are also at high risk of domestic violence and sexual abuse by their husbands because they are often younger than their spouse and too afraid to speak for themselves.

Child marriage threatens the health, development, and well-being of girls because they are still in their formative years where the pelvis and birth canal are not fully developed. They can develop severe complications from pregnancy and where proper health service and medical expertise in obstetric (childbirth) is lacking as it is in most developing countries, many of the children are more likely to die from complications. Even where services are provided, children die due to lack of resources to avail of the services.

Pregnancy for young girls is a cause for developing obstetric fistula (due to their small pelvises) and fistula leaves its victims with health consequences, including bad smell, infection, pain and other urine and faecal complications. Experts say children born to other children below 18years has a 60 percent chance of dying in their first year of life than those born to a woman 19years and above.

Now we know that child marriage puts a girl at risk in every area, If we are able to raise our voices together and cry out; calling Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari to ban child and forced marriage, we could save millions of girls (children) in Nigeria from the claws and torture that comes with child marriage. Together we can help prevent avoidable child deaths from child birth, violence, poverty and infant mortality.

Muhammadu Buhari-President of Nigeria can do it. If child and forced marriage are banned in Nigeria, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari can become the champion of the Nigerian Girl child which the Country is in desperate need of.

So please add your voice to the urgent petition (. Sign and share it. It takes less than a minute. Join the many voices and say NO to CHILD ABUSE in Nigeria. Call on the Nigerian President and Government to put a BAN on child & forced marriage. Your support is crucial. Sign the petition here https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Muhammadu_BuhariPresident_of_Nigeria_Ban_Child_Marriage_in_Nigeria/

With Hope, Faith and Determination,

Ini Usanga

Founder Love and Care for People

Link to the original article: https://afripoet.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/a-call-for-action-against-child-marriage-by-award-winning-activist-ini-usanga-based-in-ireland/