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Religion and time of marriage: the role of faith leaders

Adolescent Girls (AGs) in Northern Nigeria have very limited choices and opportunities to reach their full potential.

Cultural and religious socialisations have resulted in girls feeling isolated and powerless and therefore conforming to cultural pressures to marry early.

Although 43% of girls in Nigeria are married before 18, in the North West, child marriage prevalence is as high as 76%.

The centrality of religion in Nigeria enables religious institutions and leaders to exercise considerable influence regarding the timing of marriage of adolescent girls.

The study is a cross-sectional and mixed method study about the roles of faith leaders (FLs) in advancing the cause of adolescent girls regarding timing of marriage.

This question was explored from four complementary perspectives:

  • influence in congregations/community members
  • influence in governmental actors
  • influence in adolescent girls and
  • influence in other faith leaders
In some regions in Northern Nigeria, the incidence of girl-child marriage is as high as 87%