[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 17:28 GMT
The 12-year-old wife's tale
In some parts of the world children can find themselves married before they've even become teenagers.

As part of the BBC's Generation Next series, one such bride - Nigerian Sa'adiyya Shu'aibu Dambatta, who is now happily married to someone else - talks about her first marriage.

Sa'adiyya Shu'aibu Dambatta
Sa'adiyya had never met her husband before she was married
I was married off when I was just 12 years old - and very immature.

No-one has asked me whether I liked the man or not. When it was time for the marriage, I just heard that I had been married to him.

I was then taken to his house, but I did not stay.

I suffered a lot. I would run away from the house at one o'clock or two o'clock in the night, and go to my parents.

Initially, I would be beaten up and sent back to him, until such a time when my parents became tired of the whole thing and left me alone.

I told them if they continued to insist that I remain with the man, I would run away and do bad things. I have my mother's relatives - I could go to them and have them find something like housework for me to do.

The man was not young, he was much older than me. We had never conversed with each other before the marriage; he had never asked me whether I liked him or not.

Dead end

I really suffered. He had another wife - the senior wife - and she was much older than me.

She oppressed me so much that sometimes I would get out of the house and sit on a rubbish heap. I become like a madwoman.

Sa'adiyya Shu'aibu Dambatta and her family
Sa'adiyya (left) is now happily married with a new family
She would give me abuse me over many things. And the man would always insult me. He would even call me worthless, saying that it was my father who gave me to him because he saw him with money.

And my mother couldn't do anything. She had said to my father that he had the right to do as he wished with his daughter. She had no say in that. She had herself to worry for. She put her trust in God.

Life hasn't been kind to me because I am not educated. Had my father educated me and made me into something, I would have said life has been just to me.

So I always feel left behind, because younger people, who are not even my peers, are now better than me, having become something in life.

As for me, I am at a dead end.

What I would say to the young is that they should endeavour to seek knowledge - both contemporary and religious.

They should know that contemporary education opens the way to progress in life. It provides employment. That will benefit you and enable you take care of your parents.

Now young people, younger and older than me, have secured employment due to their education, while I am always at home.

I am illiterate. My father's failure to educate me has hindered my progress in life. And life has not been kind to me.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific