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In five years, Nigeria records 14% reduction in child marriage -Report


This study was carried out to examine the knowledge and perception of early marriage among adolescent girls in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, Lagos State. Early marriage is a threatened issue for adolescent girls in Nigeria. The direct reproducers for future generations are adolescent girls. Healthy adolescent girl indicate healthy future generation. The health of most Nigerian adolescent girls are mostly exaggerated by early marriage. It is prerequisite for adolescent mainly adolescent girls and their family to have knowledge about early marriage. This study explored the knowledge and perception of early marriage among adolescent’s girls. The findings reveal that early marriage is due to various factors including among others, the search for economic survival, protection of young girls, peer group and family pressure, controlling female behavior and sexuality, wars and civil conflicts, socio-cultural and religious values. It is a violation of girls’ human rights as it deprives her from freedom, opportunity for personal development, and other rights. It is also a developmental challenge for population pressure, health care costs and lost opportunities of human development. It was concluded that early marriage is a barrier to girls’ education as young girls drop out of school to get married which impacts negatively on the community as a whole and on the well-being of future generation. While some recommendations were put forward to eradicate the menace of early marriage in Nigeria.



Title Page                                                                                                                   Page Nos.

Certification                                                                                                                   i

Dedication                                                                                                                     ii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                       iii

Table of Contents                                                                                                          iv

List of Tables                                                                                                                 v

List of Figures                                                                                                               vi

List of Acronyms (if any)                                                                                             vii

Abstract                                                                                                                         viii



  • Background to the Study
  • Statement of the Problem
  • Objectives of the Study
  • Research Questions
  • Research Hypotheses
  • Significance of the Study
  • Scope and limitation of the Study
  • Definition of Terms



 2.0 Introduction

2.1 Concept of Early Marriage

2.1.1 Context of Early Marriage in Africa

2.1.3. Early Marriage as a Developmental Challenge in Nigeria

2.1.4 Key Issues Surrounding Early Marriage (consequences)

2.1.5 Some Factors Responsible for Early Marriages among Adolescent Girls

2.1.6 Customs and Traditions Related to Early Marriage

2.1.7 Implications of Early Marriage on Teenagers In Lagos State

2.2 Theoretical Framework

2.3 Empirical Literature Reviews



3.1       Introduction

3.2.      Research Design

3.3       Area of the Study

3.4       Population of the Study

3.5       Sample and Sampling Technique

3.6       Research Instrument

3.7       Validation of Research Instrument    

3.8       Administration of the Instrument

3.9       Method of Data Analysis



4.1       Introduction

4.2       Presentation and Analysis of Data4.3 Testing of Hypotheses

4.3       Testing of Hypotheses



5.1       Introduction

5.2       Summary of the Findings

5.3       Conclusion

5.4       Recommendations


Appendix I  

Appendix II  



                                                 CHAPTER ONE


1.1 Background to the Study

Millions of girls are affected by early marriage (EM) throughout the world. It is widely practiced in West African countries where every year millions of girls-preteens and teens- become the wives of older men. Young girls are married when they are still children. It is a violation of human rights. Their development is limited due to early marriage (EM) and often results in early pregnancy and social isolation (UNICEF, 2014). Child marriage is in contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and threatens the realization of the goals of sustainable development such as healthy life, better welfare at all ages, gender equality, stable economic growth, decent occupation, high quality education, and elimination of poverty and hunger (Sharma, 2012). Early marriage accelerates the change from childhood to adulthood, so that the girl, despite being a child, must play the roles of a mother and a wife without the required autonomy or ability to make decisions (Ahmed, 2014). Teenage women are socially vulnerable as they are mostly poor, uneducated, and rural, and have limited access to health care services. These girls are often forced to quit school, and opportunities for education, intellectual development, a decent job, financial independence, and a move out of poverty are all stolen from them (Pandey, 2017). They are entrapped in a vicious circle of poverty with limited access to family and social support and a high risk of depression, inability and divorce (Kyari, 2014).

Early  marriage or ‘Child marriage’ can be defined as any marriage carried out below the age of 18 years, before the girl is physically, physiologically and psychologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and childbearing (Roest, 2016). Early marriage affects both boys and girls, mainly the girls, most of who are in poor socioeconomic status (Wikigender, 2016). There are many cause of early marriage including cultural, social, economic and religious. The reasons behind the elevated rate of early marriage result from some traditional Nigerian customs and moral codes. Poverty is a major underpinning factor encouraging early marriage. Young girls are often considered as an economic burden by their families and their marriage to an older man and into another family is often a family survival strategy in order to obtain financial security. Additionally, parents are attracted by the prospect of lower payments if they marry their daughters off at an early age. The fear of sexual harassment of young daughters is another root cause of early marriage in Nigeria. To protect a girl‘s sexuality in an unsafe environment and it is seen as an important way (Wikigender, 2016).

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines adolescents as those people between 10 and 19 years of age. It is considered as a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescent girls constitute about 1/5th of total female population in the world. The period of adolescence for a girl is a period of physical and psychological preparation for safe motherhood. As direct reproducers for future generations, the health of adolescent girls influences not only their own health, but also the health of future generation (Dube, 2012). Although the present adolescent pregnancy rate is lower but it remains a major concern. The pregnancy and birth rate for teenagers in the United States are higher than those in other developed countries; approximately 1 in every 11 girls 13-19 years old becomes pregnant each year in the United States (Emily, 2019). In most countries in the African region nearly 60% girls were married by the age of 18 years with one fourth marrying by the age of 15 years. In India, every 3rd adolescent girl in the age group of 13-19 years was married (Sunil, 2014). When girls are married at age of 10 to 14, their educational careers are disrupted especially if an avenue for second chance learning is not provided. Once girls are left behind in this process, they add to the burden of development of the society and their positive roles and contributions are limited early.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Early marriage is not a new scenario in Nigeria; it is deeply rooted in impoverishment and traditional cultural settings of the Hausa’s and Yoruba. It is one of the 21st century major problems in Nigeria. Majority of adolescent girls in the country still find lives constrained due to early marriage which has diverse consequences upon the life of adolescent, especially girls in secondary schools. The indicator of prevailing poverty among the poor, rural and urban populace that the world receives from the UNDP annually is a clear evidence of lack of equitable distribution of wealth in society. We know for a fact that most of the families in Africa are extended, especially, with devastating impact of diseases including malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS. Consequently, families are less able to cater for the educational needs of their wards. When choices are made on who goes to school, the males are given preferential treatment, thereby leaving the girl child largely not catered for. This means that poverty’s impact on child education is felt more by the girl child, as most girls are giving out in marriage on a reason of getting money from the son in-law to sponsor the male child’s education. The present study was undertaken to determine the knowledge and perception about early marriage among adolescent girls (both married and unmarried) in Oshodi, Lagos State.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to examine the knowledge and perception of early marriage among adolescent girls. The specific objectives are:

  1. To identify the factors behind early marriage tradition in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area of Lagos State.
  2. To investigate the consequences and developmental implications of early marriage in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area of Lagos State.
  3. To ascertain the general perspectives of adolescent girls in Oshodi-Isolo local government towards the practice of early marriage.
  4. To recommend ways of eradicating the negative impacts of early marriage in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area of Lagos State.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. Does early marriage affect girls’ wellbeing and constitutes a violation on their human rights in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area?
  2.  Does early marriage hinders a girl child’s development in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area?
  3.  Does early marriage leads to poor educational attainment of adolescent girls in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area?
  4. What are the public perspectives on adolescent girls’ early marriage practice in Oshodi-Isolo local government?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses will be tested in the course of the study;

H0: Early marriage does not affects girls’ wellbeing and constitutes a violation on their human rights in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area

H1: Early marriage do affects girls’ wellbeing and constitutes a violation on their human rights in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area

H0: Early marriage does not hinder a girl child’s development in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area.

H0: Early marriage do hinder a girl child’s development in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area

1.6 Significant of the Study

 The significance of this study cannot be overemphasized because this invaluable research work will be of tremendous impact on existing knowledge about developmental implications of early marriage in Africa and Nigeria in particular.

Thus, the outcome of this work will portray a vivid idea of peoples’ perceptions and impressions on early marriage in Nigeria. It will also be of great importance to ideal administrators and sociologists.

The lessons that will be learnt from this study will be helpful to government in enacting and implementing policies and programmes that will impede the menace of early marriage in the country. Furthermore, the ideas in this work will help immensely in implementation and meaningful decisions and policies on developmental implications of early marriage as it affects girl child and the entire society. On the other hand, the findings and recommendations of this research work will help tremendously to restore adequate dignity, rights and values of girl child in Nigeria especially in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area.

Last but not the least, this invaluable work will be of great significance in the sense that people should know that early marriage is not a solution to the search for economic survival, protection of young girls, peer group and family pressure, controlling female behavior and sexuality, and socio-cultural and religious values but it is a violation of girl’s human rights as it deprives her of freedom, opportunity for personal development, and other rights. This work will also be of academic, administrative and social assets to all Nigerians.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The research work is expected to cover knowledge and perception of early marriage among adolescent girls in Oshodi-Isolo local government Area of Lagos State.

This work covers the period of 1990 till date. It will touch some vital events on early marriage which took place in Nigeria and in Oshodi-Isolo in particular within the stated period.

The limitations of this work include the following:

  1.  Finance/fund: this was the greatest limitation or hindrance the researcher encountered on the course of this work. A lot of fund was needed to carry out this work perfectly, such as transport fare, lobbying for interview, feeding, e.t.c as a student, it becomes very cumbersome.
  2.  Time: time cannot be over emphasized when talking of limitations of this study because it was one of the major hindrances the researcher faced during this study. Thus, this work is one of the courses/works or activities that needed equal attention of the researcher. Furthermore, the researcher being a regular student, he had the engagements to attend such as reading, going to lectures, going for recreation and so many other assignments that equally claim a substantial part of time available to him. Yet it is not exaggeration to say that not less than 40% of his available time was spent on this invaluable study.
  3.  Respondents: although the researcher got a good percentage of responses to his interview or questions, it was not easy per say for him to convince then (respondents) that the study is merely on academic exercise due to the high level of illiteracy among the people of the area in the sense that majority of their representatives/functionaries does not know the particular year the council was created talk more of knowing the land mass and the population of the council and such recorded data.

Thus, in spite of the above limitations, the researcher could be able to achieve his objectives by prioritizing this study to other of his activities because of time, using of interpreters on respondents because of high rate of illiteracy and effective and efficient use of the little resources in his possession. Meanwhile data collection went smoothly in spite of the above challenges, presumably because the interviewers were hired/recruited locally and known to the respondent.



Account Number: 0709546102

Access Bank: Savings        
Account Name: Emmanuel Idorenyin Samuel.