Nigeria is one of the youngest countries in the world – not in terms of when it was founded but in terms of the age of its population.
According to the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects, there are 19.9 million children in Nigeria and 44% percent of the population is below the age of 15. To put this in perspective: 11 out of every 25 Nigerians are children.
UNICEF cites more than 20,000 children are born every single day from Borno to Lagos; that come to make up the massive below age ten population of this country. And for all 20,000 births, 821 women die during childbirth.
Currently, Nigeria is the highest contributor to maternal mortality in Central and Western Africa and accounts for 14% of the global maternal mortality rate.
The country is currently ranked 187th out of 191 countries in healthcare delivery. It is also the second largest contributor to maternal mortality worldwide, after India. One Nigerian woman dies every 13 minutes – that is 109 women dying each day – from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Add that to Northern Nigeria’s increasing child marriage rate and you have an atomic bomb.
According to GirlsNotBrides, a non-profit organization trying to eradicate child marriage, 17% of girls are married before the age of 15 and 44% are married before the age of 18. UNICEF predicts, in the North-West, figures are as high as 68% for child marriages. As a result of such high child marriage rates, pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death among young women aged 15-19 years in Nigeria.