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Teenage Girl In Court For Abandoning Forced Marriage 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

A 15-year old girl at the Ziling neighborhood in the Maroua I Subdivision in the Far North of Cameroon, Nabila, is being prosecuted in court for abandoning her matrimonial home.

“I was forced into marrying one old man two years ago by my grandmother when I was only 13. I lived in the man’s house for 14 painful days. The environment did not suit me. I felt all the time as if an evil spirit was haunting and I decided to run away,” the victim narrated.

Before the teenage girl left the man’s home, she was already pregnant and later gave birth to a baby girl. She said the man did not take care of her when she was pregnant and she and her baby are at the mercy of her family.
“He later dragged me to Court for abandoning my matrimonial home”, she said.

A civil society organisation, Local Action for Participatory and Self-managed Development, known by its French acronym as ALDEPIA, is providing legal and financial assistance to the little girl.
The supposed husband of the girl is insisting that the girl must come back to her home, despite the fact that their so-called marriage has no legal binding.

Meanwhile, the grandmother of the 15-year-old girl said she was giving her out to an early marriage because she did not have the means to continue sponsoring her in school. She also said she was afraid that the girl will be pregnant without a husband.

Nabila regretted that she was a victim of an early marriage.
“I have decided that my daughter will not suffer like me. I will do everything to send her to school. I am appealing to the Government to fight early marriages and poverty so that girl children can go to school, and get married after their studies.”

Commenting on the phenomenon of early marriages, the Far North Regional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Mahamat Sale, said parents and girls in the area were becoming more and more conscious that early marriages are evil. He said it is a deep-seated problem that needs to be eradicated at all cost.

He dismissed claims that early marriages were in tandem with the local traditions and the Islam religion.
He revealed that with the help of the United Nations Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF, denunciation brigades have been created in five strategic areas of the Region to raise an alarm on early marriages.

According to him, it was because one of such brigades raised an alarm that a Cameroonian Diplomat swallowed his vicious bid to marry a 12-year-old girl in the Makabaye neighbourhood in Maroua.

The girl’s mother, who lost her husband a few years ago, said she wanted to give out her daughter for marriage because she cannot afford to send her to school.

Meanwhile, the little girl, Mairamou Ibrahim, a form I student of Lycee de Makabaye said: “I refused to marry because I want to go to school and become a Minister in future.”
When the supposed suitor insisted on taking away the girl, ALDEPIA waded in and botched the vicious attempt.