The United Nations Women Africa has said Nigeria has the highest child brides in the world with 23 million girls married off in childhood.
This is coming ahead of a conference holding in Lagos on Tuesday to address cultural practices against girls and women, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.
The conference is expected to be attended by traditional rulers from different African countries.
The UN National Information Officer, Dr Seyi Soremekun, in a statement on Saturday, said the UN Women Africa in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Children’s Fund had made a strategic choice of placing the engagement of African traditional authorities central to addressing the cultural norms and practices harmful to women and girls’ well-being.
The organisation expressed concern that that by 2050, the number of children married before the age of 18 would double if no fundamental change aimed at reversing the trend was made.
In recognition of the need to curb the practices and protect the health and well-being of women and girls of Africa, the UN Women stated that it had identified ending child marriage in Africa as one of its three cross-regional programmes within its Africa Strategy 2018 – 2021.