Our investigation reveals that at least five child marriages have already taken place in one of the IDP camps this year alone.
What is most concerning about this situation is that despite the hardships experienced by vulnerable individuals residing in various camps in Adamawa State, who were forced to flee their homes due to 14 years of Boko Haram insurgency, underage couples continue to enter into marriages, driven by a sense of love and found companionship.
A journalist from Arewa PUNCH visited the Fufore IDP camp and had an exclusive interview with two families out of the five who got married this year. Bakura, a 17-year-old originally from Michika, married 15-year-old Aisha in January 2023.
Bakura shared that he approached Aisha’s parents, who consented and blessed their marriage because of his deep love for her.
When asked about the reasons behind their early marriage and his plans to take care of Aisha, Bakura said, “We are in the camp together, and I love Aisha very much. I will buy her anything she wants to make her happy.”
He added, “Aisha is pregnant with my child, and I want my children to go to school. I want to have three children, but I don’t want her to go to school.”
When questioned about his future occupation to support his wife and family, Bakura mentioned he would like to sell nylon bags for the time being.
Although Bakura aspires to be a soldier after completing secondary school, he currently attends SS 2.
Aisha, originally from Bama, confirmed that her parents allowed her to marry Bakura because of their love for each other.
Aisha expressed her desire to have three children with Bakura and emphasized her intentions to go to school along with her children.
She confidently stated that she knows how to keep herself and her baby safe and healthy.
When asked about any health issues during her pregnancy, she responded, “Not at all,” assuring that both she and her unborn baby are in good health.
Another individual, Babagana, 21 years old, who migrated from Bama to Adamawa, mentioned that he got married to Hapsat in July 2023.
Babagana, who aspires to be a medical doctor, revealed that although Hapsat is not yet pregnant, they are sexually active in the camp. He stated his desire to have two children.
He shared that Hapsat’s parents permitted their marriage because they liked and trusted him.
When asked about his future work to support his wife, Babagana said he plans to become a farmer.
Both Bakura and Babagana mentioned that their peers in the camp are happy for them and also want to get married.
Although there haven’t been any reported cases of rape, it was observed that marital disputes among the wives in the Damare and Fufore camps revolve around sharing nights with their husbands and portions of food.
To address this concerning issue, Mr. Ladan Ayuba, the Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in Adamawa, expressed his concerns and plans to collaborate with the State Emergency Management Agency and development partners to sensitize camp leaders about the need to prevent underage marriages.
Ayuba acknowledges that while people have the right to make their own choices and marry from the age of 18, marrying at a young age without a stable source of income is not ideal.
He promised to work towards bettering the lives of those living in the camps, but emphasizes the importance of waiting until marriageable age to ensure the husbands can financially support their families.
The Fufore camp Chairman, Abba Umar, also expressed his dissatisfaction with underage marriages and pledged to take measures to prevent them in the future.
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