The Niger State government is taking the issue of forced early marriage seriously especially parents who withdraw their wards from school for such purpose.

The government said it had been clamping down on the menace leading arrest and conviction of 13 people who withdrew their girl child from school for forceful marriage.

The government said it also “supported seven young girls to go back to schools after forceful marriages”, while some other cases were still pending in court, according to the Commissioner for Education, Hajia Fatima Madugu, who addressed newsmen on the issue in Minna Monday.

Hajia Madugu, who declined to name the convicts or the towns where they were convicted, insisted that the law prohibiting the withdrawal of the girl child from school for marriage or any other purpose was still in force.

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“Any parent that withdraws the girl child will be sanctioned. We should allow our female children to go to school like their male counterparts,” she said.

The commissioner also defended the discriminatory policy of the government in the payment of public examinations fees by government, saying: “Because of the free education policy of the government, people from neighbouring states were trooping to the state to register for the public examinations.

“We are trying to straighten the records after which we will revert to the old policy.”

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