Abuja - Sen. Helen Esuene, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Youth Matters, says early marriage is a major setback to the self-actualisation of female children.
Esuene expressed this concern on Saturday in Uyo at the 18th Biennial Conference and General Assembly of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN).
The theme of the conference was "The girl child: reaching out and raising opportunities for health, empowerment and education”.
She said that early marriage was a monster that deprived girls of their childhood, health, future and sometimes her life.
"Child marriage serves no useful purpose in the society and should be discontinued,’’ she advised.
Esuene said that it was abnormal to practice such old culture in the 21st century world where the female gender was in a hurry to cover lost grounds in the area of public participation.
The senator said that girls must be empowered with the right tools of education, self-confidence, knowledge and absolute understanding of their physical makeup.
She said that girls should be made to grow up to see themselves as complete and independent persons, not a weak half.
Esuene added that the girl-child had been spotlighted in recent years due to attempts to correct her marginalisation caused by cultural and traditional practices.
"I am happy to note that some of the obnoxious cultural practices such as genital mutilation and fattening are fast becoming history,’’ she added.
She also expressed concern that the level of female education in the northern part of the country was still very low in spite of Universal Basic Education programme of the Federal Government.
She said that the girls needed to acquire adequate knowledge to be in a position to impart same to her children later in life. (NAN)