From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Professor Obehi Okojie of the Faculty of Public Health and Community Medicine, National Postgraduate Medical College Of Nigeria (NPMCN) has raised the alarm that COVID-19 may force 2.5 million Nigerian girls into early marriage by the year 2025.
The don made this known during the College’s 2021 Faculty Day Lecture titled “Exploring The Impact of COVID-19 On Communities and Mitigation Efforts” held at the 1,000 sitting capacity hall, Kaduna State University (KASU), yesterday.
She said the study revealed that girls were disproportionately affected and the pandemic threatens to undo decades of progress in gender equality campaigns by different stakeholders.
“Millions of girls might not be going back to school, learning putting them at risk of adolescent pregnancy, child marriage and violence.
“About 2.5 million girls are at risk of marriage by 2025 because of the pandemic – the greatest surge in child marriage rates in 25 years.
“Surveys of households across the country carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and IFPRP in 2020 showed that 78 percent to 88 percent of the households reported that they lost their source of income due to the pandemic which resulted in a reduction of food consumption in about 51 percent to 66 percent of them.”