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Over 470,000 Sign Petition Demands Child Marriage Be Criminalised

Child marriage is widespread in northern Nigeria, where 78% of girls get married before they turn 18, according to Save The Child International.

A total of 473,565 Nigerians have signed a petition calling for the criminalization and outlawry of child marriage in the nation.

According to the UNICEF 2022 study, Nigeria has the greatest percentage of child brides in West and Central Africa with 22 million girls between the ages of 13 and 17 who have previously been married.

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The percentage of child brides in the two regions that this number represents, according to the research, is 40%.


Child marriage is widespread in northern Nigeria, where 78% of girls get married before they turn 18, according to Save The Child International. The majority of northern Nigeria’s Muslim communities accept underage marriage as legal.

According to UNICEF, six of the ten nations with the highest global prevalence of child marriage (41% of all instances) are located in West and Central Africa.

However, a petition to outlaw child marriage in the nation has gathered pace online, with 473,429 Nigerians having already signed it. The petition was created on the worldwide change website by the civil society organization Never Your Fault, which is headed by three adolescent girls.

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The girls, Susan Ubogu, Kudirat Abiola, and Temitayo Asuni, noted in the petition they co-signed that the Nigerian Constitution (1999 as amended), which states that “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age,” conflicts with the Child Rights Act of 2003, which criminalized marriage contracts involving girls under the age of 18.

“Due to the fact that this law is not clearly stated, many Nigerians have got away with marrying young girls at any age,” part of the petition read.


As a result, the organization demanded that members of the National Assembly change the conflicting statute and clarify child marriage in Nigeria in the constitution.

They mentioned that according to UNICEF’s most recent study on child marriage, Nigeria ranked 11th in the world and that 44% of Nigerian women were married off before becoming 18 years old.

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The petition reads, “That is 40 million people. Imagine if we had 40 million more people working towards solving the issues of our country. Child marriage also leads to a number of illnesses for the girl child, ranging from vesicovaginal fistula, sexually transmitted infection, high blood pressure and postpartum depression, amongst others.

“A child as young as 11 can be married off; this leads to numerous complications not only for the child but also for the economy as a whole.

“Sign this petition to ban child marriage in Nigeria and make the constitution clearer and ensure that the law is enforced all over the country. I guarantee you it will change a life.”



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