These schoolgirls want an end to child marriage. So they're fighting to change their country's constitution
Updated 0845 GMT (1645 HKT) May 25, 2019
CNN is committed to covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world. This story is part of As Equals, an ongoing series.
Lagos, Nigeria — In a plush living room of a home in a wealthy suburb of Lagos, three teenagers are huddled around a computer.
Kudirat Abiola, 15, Temitayo Asuni, 15 and Susan Ubogu, 16, want to change the law on child marriage in Nigeria and they're deep in discussion, even ignoring calls to break for a hearty Sunday lunch of jollof rice and southern fried chicken.
More than a third of girls in Nigeria end up in child marriages, and with 22 million married before the age of 18, the nation has among the highest number of child brides in Africa, according to a 2018 UNICEF report.
The girls are checking an online petition they've started. They know it's a tall order to get lawmakers to close the legal loopholes that currently enable men to enter marriages with girls under 18. But they are unfazed by things others their age might be.
Abiola, who aspires to be a children's rights activist, says it's a very emotional issue for the three of them."How do you give a young girl such a responsibility and have her education, friends, and family taken away from her?" she asks.
Campaigning for human rights is second nature to Abiola, who comes from a family of prominent activists.
Abiola's grandmother, also called Kudirat, fought for Nigeria's democracy before she was assassinated in 1996. It came three years after the military jailed Moshood Kola Abiola, the apparent victor of the annulled 1993 presidential elections and the teenage activist's grandfather.
Abiola is also inspired by her aunt, Hafsat Abiola, a prominent civil rights activist.
"Those are my role models," the 15-year-old says. "They have broken the stereotype that girls cannot achieve what boys can."
Ubogu taught herself to code at age 10 after taking lessons on the internet and already has a software company with two games in the Google Play store.
"I was bored with my math class... So I decided to get into programming," Ubogu says as she types on her laptop. "I love challenges."
The math geek says no girl should be denied her education because of marriage.
"At the age of 11, most girls should be getting an education — in the classroom, not the kitchen. Times are changing, and no one should think a woman's role is limited to the kitchen," Ubogu told CNN.
Asuni says she has been reading newspaper articles of young girls being married off to men old enough to be their fathers since elementary school.
The 15-year-old says she felt helpless about it until she met Ubogu and Abiola at a workshop in December organized by local NGO to educate students about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
"As we got talking, we realized we needed to start with a change in our constitution," Asuni told CNN.
The girls'campaign NeverYourFault specifically takes aim at a clause in Section 29 of the Nigerian constitution they say backs underage marriage.
While Nigeria's 2003 Child Rights Act says children under the age of 18 cannot get married, a sub-section of the country's constituti