Child marriage has become a global topic of discussion on various platforms. It is a global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. It denies girls their rights to health, to live in security and to choose when and whom they marry. It cuts short girls’ education and traps them, their families and their communities in a cycle of poverty. Various institutions and Non-Governmental organizations around the world are leading campaigns and are committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential.
This upshot has generated a lot of reactions by various groups in Nigeria as the senate endorsed the child marriage bill. Child molestation has also been on the increase over the years with numerous abuses such as rape against the girl child. While there have been so much agitations, little has been said on what could be the root cause of the increase in the rate at which the girl child is being abused. Pornographic movies and many other sexually arousing materials are being retailed and distributed across various channels without impunity and this poses huge risk to the younger generations.
While the Nigerian legislatures are still debating on the issue, other responsive Governments are trying to device means to curb and reduce the social and societal menace. In a speech credited to the United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron announced that online pornography will be blocked by default and most households in the UK will have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it. In addition, the prime minister said possessing online pornography depicting rape would become illegal in England and Wales – in line with Scotland. Mr Cameron warned in a speech that access to online pornography was “corroding childhood”.
In his speech, Mr Cameron said family-friendly filters would be automatically selected for all new customers. He also said that some horrific internet search terms to would be blacklisted, meaning they would automatically bring up no results on various serach engines like google. Other measures announced by the Prime minister include, videos streamed online in the UK will be subject to the same restrictions as those sold in shops, search engines have until October to introduce further measures to block illegal content.
The prime minister in his speech said: “I want to talk about the internet, the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood”. In continuation, he also said “I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”
He also warned he could have to “force action” by changing the law and that, if there were “technical obstacles”, service providers should use their “greatest brains” to overcome them.
Nigerians simply hope that people in Government and legislative positions will also take their stand, have a re-think on the endorsement, act like fathers and make legislative decisions that will curb the menace.