This research work explored the issue of early marriage in Nigeria. It shed light specifically on reasons behind its perpetuation, its harmful consequences, shows how it constitutes a barrier to education and enjoyment of human rights by girls and how it further threatens the development of the country. The findings from respondents and extensive reading of materials related to early marriage suggest 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 anchors the soci-economic and education developmental challenge for population pressure, health care costs and lost opportunities of human development. It 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. This practice stands in direct conflict with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); such as the promotion of basic education, fight against poverty, the prevention of HIV/AIDS and reduction of maternal mortality rate in sub Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular. To deal with the problem, a number of strategies have been suggested mainly for providing economic opportunities to young girls, promoting education of girls and using mass media to increase the awareness of the whole community about the consequences of early marriage on girls themselves, their family and on the community as a whole.

Many development workers around the world recognized early marriage as an international issue which is mostly common in Africa, Asia and Latin America, however. Millions of young people suffer its negative consequence around the world as it diverts them from opportunities of personal growth and development thus it is a developmental challenge and a barrier to young girls as they drop-out from schools when they get married, this phenomenon is very common in rural areas and poor house hold families in Africa, it impacts negatively not only on young girls but society as a whole and wellbeing of future generation Bayisenge (2012).

Pathfinder international report (2006) indicates that early marriage continue to exist in Asia, Africa, Latin America and middle east, parents as head of families continue to make choices for girls and boys with little or no involvement and consultation with them because of economic, cultural and attitudinal related factors. Parents in most cases consider marriage of their young children as family building strategy and protection from hurtful practices outside of marriage but few numbers of them give consideration the importance of educational attainment so as young generation get skills required for them to secure and sustain wellbeing and quality of life.

Early marriage refers to any marriage of a child younger than 18 years old. This robs the girls of their youth as they are required to take up roles for which they are not psychologically and physically prepared. Many have no choice about timing of marriage with their partner. Some are coerced into marriage, while others are too young to make an informed decision. Premature marriage deprives them of the opportunity for personal development as well as their rights to full reproductive health (RH), and well-being, education and participation in civic life (Saxena, 1999:7). Despite its disadvantages, however, early marriage is common occurrence in many parts of the world. Overall, 20-50 per cent of women in developing countries are married by age 18, with the highest percentages in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (Singh and Samara, 1996:8). Virtually everywhere, poor women in rural areas tend to marry younger than those in urban areas, and educational levels also play a critical role (UN, 2010:5). However, in the United States of America, 2.1 per cent of all girls in the 15-17 age group were in early marriage, while, 7.6 per cent of all girls aged 15-19 were in an informal union (UN, 2010:9). Early marriage exists in some parts of Europe, for example, in the United Kingdom where 4.1 per cent of all girls in the 15-19 age group were cohabiting (living in an informal union), while 8.9 per cent of all girls in that age group admitted to have been in a cohabitation relation before the age of 18. Over 4 per cent of all underage girls in the UK were teenage mothers (Sharon and Lewis, 2005:3).

In rural areas and northern Nigeria, early marriage is high among girls compared to males. Forty-three per cent of girls are married before they they are 18 years compared to boys at 11.6 per cent. This proportion is higher than the national prevalence rate which stands at 34 per cent for females and 1.4 per cent for males (Plan International, 2020:1). Different reasons have been given for going into early marriage. Poor families may regard a young girl as an economic burden and her marriage as a necessary survival strategy for her family. Her marriage relieves the family financially and socially (ICRW, 2007:98). In some cases, parents willingly marry off their young girls to receive payment of bride wealth in order to increase the family income. Bride wealth is a cultural phenomenon practiced in Africa and other parts of the world and it encourages parents to marry their daughters early (UNICEF, 2001: 97). Culturally, the boy child’s education is more valued and usually more preference is accorded the boy-child than the girl-child. Educating the girl child is seen as a wasted investment since she will be married elsewhere.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
The practice of early marriage mainly arises due to poverty, civil strife and low level of development. Some families believe that it limits and discourages promiscuity. Early marriage discriminates against the girl child’s right, limits her freedom to make decisions, isolates her from her peers, increases her risk of intimate sexual violence and sexually transmitted infections including HIV infection, predisposes her to complications of child birth such as obstructed labor and obstetric fistulae. Maternal mortality in pregnancy is four times higher among girls below the age of 16 years and their new born death rate is 50% higher compared to women who become pregnant after the age of 20 years. Early marriage also causes the girl child to discontinue or interrupt her education. Her children are also less likely to grow up healthy and go to school, thus continuing and worsening the cycle of poverty for generations to come.

1.3 Research Question
1. What are the reasons behind early marriage perpetuation in Ado-Odo local government area?

2. Does early marriage have aeffects on the socio economic and educational performance of children in Ado-Odo local government area?

3. Does early marriage hinder development in Ado-Odo local government area.

4. Does early marriage lead to poor development in Ado-Odo local government area.

1.4 Objectives of the Study
Therefore, the specific objectives of this study are as follows:

1. To identify the reasons behind early marriage perpetuation in Nigeria using Ado-Odo local government as a paradigm.

2. To identify how it affect girls’ wellbeing and constitute a violation of their human rights in Ado-Odo local government area.

3. To investigate the consequences and soci-economic and education developmental effects of early marriage in Ado-Odo local government area.

4. To recommend ways of ameliorating the soci-economic and education developmental effects of early marriage in Ado-Odo local government area.

1.5 Hypotheses
1. Economic survival (poverty), socio-cultural and religious norms, civil conflict, value for virginity and fear of extramarital sexual activities are the reasons behind early marriage perpetuation in Nigeria.

2. Early marriage affects girls’ wellbeing and constitutes a violation on their human rights in Ado-Odo local government area.

3. Early marriage hinders development in Ado-Odo local government area.

Early marriage leads to poor development in Ado-Odo local government area.

1.6 Significance of the Study
Early marriage of the girl-child has been shown to be common in some Nigerian communities. It is associated with school dropout and poor quality of life for these young mothers and their families. There is limited information on early marriage and its effect on the girl-child most especially in northern Nigeria. This study will therefore expose the public to the burden of early marriage and its effects on the girl-child in Nigeria. This information should allow for intervention measures to be formulated and also formulation of a policy to address the problem. The study will also expose other gaps that exist within the field and prompt more investigations by other scholars. Finally, the study contributes to the literature on early marriage in Nigeria

1.7 Scope of the Study
This research on early marriage among teenagers, implication for sustainable future will be carried out in Otta, Ogun state i.e. Ado-Odo LGA in Ogun State, Nigeria.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study
Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.

However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 45 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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