Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno State says underage marriage of female children has now become a punishable crime in the state warning that any parent found guilty will be prosecuted.
“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,” Shettima said on Wednesday while addressing parents whose children are beneficiaries of the free basic education introduced by his government.
He 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.
“We as parents must help them acquire western and religious education,” he added.
The Fulani community comprises mostly displaced persons from the Lake Chad region seeking refuge in Maiduguri.
Prior to the free education initiative, many of the Fulani parents were opposed to western education.
However, they have now been made to understand and accept the benefits of education for their (female) children.
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.”
Also according to the government, homes will also be provided for the displaced Fulanis.
100 houses are expected to be set aside for them from the homes built by Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote for victims of insurgency in the state.