Child marriage has been criminalized in Borno State, one of the states where the menace holds sway.
The Borno State Government on Wednesday stated that underage marriage of female children has now become a punishable crime in the state and that any parent found guilty will be prosecuted.
Governor Kashim Shettima issued the warning while addressing parents whose children are beneficiaries of the free basic education introduced by his government.
The government also presented parents with incentives which included food items and wears, as part of efforts to encourage them to send their female children to school rather than selling them off to marriage.
Shettima said: “Allow them to finish secondary school; irrespective of all the assistance and hospitality we offer you, whoever marries out his 12-year-old daughter would be prosecuted.
“We as parents must help them acquire western and religious education,” he said.
Prior to the free education initiative, western education was frowned at by many of the Fulani parents who were mostly displaced from the Lake Chad region and are in Maiduguri for refuge.
However, the initiative has opened their eyes to the many benefits of education for their children especially the female who were usually given away in marriage with or without education.
Nearly 600 Fulani children are now to benefit from the free education programme.
One of the parents, Amina Maina, said: “We are from Gudumbali, it’s because of the crisis that we came here, and we didn’t return. Since our children have now been enrolled in school we are not going anywhere until they finish school if God spares our life.”
The government has hinted that it would also provide homes for the displaced Fulanis.
Meanwhile, 100 houses are expected to be set aside for them from the homes for victims of insurgency in the state which was built by business magnate, Aliko Dangote.