I have been following with concern the latest development regarding child marriage in Nigeria. Apparently, the National Assembly has passed a law which when implemented, legalizes child marriage because they have failed to peg the age of consent at young adulthood (18).
Culturally, a girl was said to have come of age as soon as she became “a woman” i. e at the onset of puberty. It is a culture which, with the coming of western ways, was gradually discarded, with good and bad results. Good results: girls stayed healthy, grew into full adulthood, got an education before marriage. Bad results: Late marriages, very late marriages. But in my thinking the good far out weighed the bad.
So it came as a bit of an unpleasant surprise when it suddenly became a matter of dissent in the hallowed chambers. I thought all well meaning Nigerians would look upon any form of child marriage as non negotiable if nothing else but because most of them are fathers, who would probably not give out their under age daughters in marriage but then again, I could be wrong.
With this new law, how can Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF, ever be eradicated? Would we have the right to complain of paedophilia? All the individual would need do would simply be to marry the child in question to stay out of the arms of the law.
Are our legislators so attracted to children that the rest of us have to bear the burden of this action? Kai!
Posted By TheScoop on July 18, 2013
by Stanley Azuakola
We now know how senators voted on the constitution amendment bill which caused an uproar in the senate on Tuesday.
The section up for amendment had to do with persons qualified to renounce Nigerian citizenship. The constitution in Section 29 says anyone of age can do so. Section 29(4) (b) says that ” any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.” It means that even a child if married can be seen to be of full age and as such can renounce citizenship. The committee proposed that that provision be deleted.
When it was put to vote, 2/3 of members present voted for it which meant it was deleted. But, not so fast.
Enter Senator Ahmed Yerima of Zamfara, the controversial former governor of Zamfara who tried to stoke religious sentiments. He said it was against Islamic law. Yerima got married to a teenager a few years ago, and going by the provision, the girl who is still not 18 cannot be said to be of age.
Sen. Yerima needs to watch this video: Watch: Genius: Meet The Most Politically Aware And Lucid 12 Year Old In The World
He kicked and began to mobilise his fellow Muslims in the Senate and it was threatening to cause confusion. Despite the senate president, David Mark insisting that it could no longer be revisited as it had been voted upon, Yerima continued his objection.
Due to the sensitive nature, Mark had to call for another vote. At this point the Senators who were in favour of this clause could no longer muster 2/3 of the votes that will retain Section 29, Clause 4 (b). Senators still voted 60 votes to 35 votes for the clause to be deleted, but it did not satisfy the 2/3 requirement and so, according to the senate version, “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”
Thanks to Sen. Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central, ACN), we have the full list of the senators who voted NO)
The senators who voted NO, that is those who did not want the clause deleted, include the following:
1. Sen. Abdulmumin M. Hassan (Jigawa South West, PDP)
2. Sen. Abdullahi Danladi (Jigawa North West, PDP)
3. Sen. Adamu Abdullahi (Nasarawa West, PDP)
4. Sen. Ahmed Barata (Adamawa South, PDP)
5. Sen. Akinyelure Ayo (Ondo Central, Labour Party)
6. Sen. Alkali Saidu A. (Gombe North, PDP)
7. Sen. Bagudu Abubakar A. (Kebbi Central, PDP)
8. Sen. Dahiru Umaru (Sokoto South, PDP)
9. Sen. Galaudu Isa (Kebbi North, PDP)
10. Sen. Garba Gamawa (Bauchi North, PDP)
11. Sen. Danjuma Goje Mohammed (Gombe Central, PDP)
12. Sen. Gobir Ibrahim (Sokoto East, PDP)
13. Sen. Gumba Adamu Ibrahim (Bauchi South, PDP)
14. Sen. Hadi Sirika (Katsina North, CPC)
15. Sen. Ibrahim Bukar Abba (Yobe East, ANPP)
16. Sen. Jajere Alkali (Yobe South, ANPP)
17. Sen. Jibrilla Mohammed (Adamawa North, PDP)
18. Sen. Kabiru Gaya (Kano South, ANPP)
19. Sen. Lafiagi Mohammed (Kwara North, PDP)
20. Sen. Lawan Ahmad (Yobe North, ANPP)
21. Sen. Maccido Mohammed (Sokoto North, PDP)
22. Sen. Musa Ibrahim (Niger North, CPC)
23. Sen. Ndume Mohammed Ali (Borno South, PDP)
24. Sen. Sadiq A. Yaradua (Katsina Central, CPC)
25. Sen. Saleh Mohammed (Kaduna Central, CPC)
26. Sen. Tukur Bello (Adamawa Central, PDP)
27. Sen. Ugbesia Odion (Edo Central, PDP)
28. Sen. Umar Abubakar (Taraba Central, PDP)
29. Sen. Usman Abdulaziz (Jigawa North East, PDP)
30. Sen. Ya’au Sahabi (Zamfara North, PDP)
31. Sen. Zannah Ahmed (Borno Central, PDP)
32. Sen. Ahmad Rufai Sani (Zamfara West, ANPP)
33. Sen. Ahmad Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central, PDP)
34. Sen. Bello Hayatu Gwano (Kano North, PDP)
35. Sen. Ibrahim Abu (Katsina South, CPC)
Some senators did not register to vote, while some abstained.
After the second voting, Yerima tried to get up to thank the Senate Present and his colleagues in an attempt to claim victory, he was shouted down and booed.