Saturday, 20 July 2013


I know you're all aware of the ongoing media rage over the supposed legalization of female underage marriage in Nigeria by the Senate. I refused to put it up because I wanted to do a little more research than what was being circulated. While surfing the internet for more info on this very sensitive subject, I stumbled upon this article and it seems to disagree with the general public on the issue and it's assumptions.

What I can deduce from this is that the Senate did not legalize underage marriage as is being widely said,  but they passed on the opportunity to amend the existing law on marriage and properly define the age of a female that is eligible to marry. Which ever way, it's still wrong and sad that they couldn't use the opportunity that presented itself while they were debating when and at what age a Nigerian citizen could legitimately and lawfully renounce his or her citizenship, to put a final stamp on the appropriate age a female should get married.

Back to the article written by Daniel Elombah, read it below;

Nigerian Facebook Generation agitated over false claim Senate legalised under-aged marriage
''In Nigeria of today, the ''consent'' of a toddler-girl to marry a 50-something year-old man is LEGAL and APPROVED BY THE SENATE", blared a scary headline on Facebook. But the reality is that the Senate vote in question was not about marriage but has to do with renunciation of citizenship. Yet, a petition started by one Eme Awa based in the United States and titled 'United
Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The Law!' started gathering signatures in CHANGE.ORG immediately. 

 Dated July 17, 2013 reads:
The Nigerian Senate just approved language that would remove the protection for young women and girls from repeatedly being rape in the guise of early marriage.
New York-based Guttmacher Institute's study reports that the Nigerian authorities have been failing to implement sexual health education for decades and now, the Nigerian Senate has made it part of the Nigerian Constitution to give adult men the right to take any young girl as a wife, even as young as ten years old. Here is the senate's new rule: ""The Nigerian Senate also resolved to alter Section 29 (a) of the constitution that stipulates that a woman shall not be qualified for marriage until she attains the 18 years as they deleted age specification for women being married from the draft constitution and left the marriage age for women open. The Senate claimed that a woman is deemed to be “full of age” once she is married irrespective of the age she did so."
We need your help to get ACTION from the United Nations to stop the government of Nigeria from this grave injustice!
Help our young girls grow up to reach their God-given potential."

But what are the facts?
The Premium Times report of 17 July said: "The former Zamfara State Governor and current Senator, Sani Yerima, whose marriage to a 13-year-old girl drew widespread outrage in 2009, literally pressed the Senate to reverse a vote that appeared to outlaw underage marriage, almost marring a crucial constitution amendment vote Tuesday. 

Mr. Yerima contested and won the reversal despite a Senate policy barring repeat votes on clauses, arguing that an earlier decision was un-Islamic and biased. The contentious provision, Section 29, allows citizens who are of age to renounce Nigerian citizenship if they wish. For that purpose, the constitution says, 18-year-olds and above shall be considered to be “of age”. 

In addition, a woman or girl who is married, shall also be considered to be of age-a section that could be interpreted to imply that even a day old child, once married, shall be considered to be of age. The Senate’s amendment committee had proposed that definition be deleted. At first voting Tuesday, Senators overwhelmingly backed the recommendation that it be removed, leaving the prospect of final passage if accepted by the House of Representatives and Houses of Assembly. 

But late into vote of dozens of clauses, while other Senators intermittently contested matters such as health, single election term and the separation of the offices of the Minister of Justice from the Attorney General, Mr. Yerima questioned why the section dealing with age of a married woman was deleted, describing the move as un-Islamic. 

He demanded a revisit, a call that was turned down by Senate president, David Mark. Mr. Mark ruled that as a member of the constitution review committee, Mr. Yerima had every opportunity to have sought a review and was against the chamber’s rule in seeking an amendment while the votes were on. 

Mr. Yerima, backed by Danjuma Goje, former Gombe State Governor and current Senator, insisted that under Islamic tenet, a woman is of age once married and countering that order as already stated in the constitution would be discriminatory and in violation of another section of the constitution directing the National Assembly to steer away from Islamic marriage.

“The constitution says the National Assembly shall legislate on marriage except those under Islamic rites,” said the former governor whose marriage to the teenager triggered months of controversy. “Islam says once a woman is married, she is of age.”

Mr. Mark however conceded to a second vote after other proposed amendments had been concluded, saying he had to act due to the “sensitivity” of the matter as it concerns religion.
Still, Mr. Yerima’s demand was again thrashed 60 to 35 at a repeat vote but the section could not be deleted as constitution amendments require two thirds of the entire members-73 for the Senate- for a proposal to pass.

An insider, Senator Babafemi Ojudu wrote on his website:
This section says that " any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age"
The section was put to vote and passed by 2/3 of members present and voting.
There then began the controversy. Senator Yerima representing Zamfara raised an objection. He said it was against Islamic law. The Senate President ruled him out of order. He said a vote has been taken and he could not revisit it. Subsequently the Senate president revisited a number of clauses that had earlier been voted on either for one reasons or the other.

Yerima then got up and said invoked religious sentiments which threatened to to cause a lot of confusion and disharmony. By then Yerima had began mobilising his Muslim brothers. The Senate President had no choice than to call another voting on the clause. 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). Those of us who voted yes, that is, those who wanted the clause to remain we're more than those who wanted it deleted but unfortunately we didn't meet the 2/3 requirement and therefore lost to the minority.
After the second voting, Yerima tried to get up to thank the Senate Present and his colleagues apparently in an attempt to claim victory , he was shouted down and booed".

My questions are:
1. Must fools always have their ways in this country?
2. Must they in the name of religion use the "third leg" under their pants to destroy the lives of innocent children?
3. When he was mobilizing his Muslim brothers, why not mobilize the Christian and atheist brothers in the house?
4. Will the educated Muslims in the SW allow their children to marry at the age of 10 instead of going to school?

We need to cut that guy's (YERIMA) troublesome pen** before he picks another 13 year old as wife.
Today is one of those days where I seriously feel like I should just give up on the Nigerian youth and a lot of the Nigerian intellectuals. Some things just don't make sense.

Reflecting on the unnecessary brouhaha surrounding the entire episode, Valentine Uche Chukwuma wrote on Facebook: 
Everybody has been ranting, huffing and puffing about the Nigerian Senate removing the 18 year old restriction on the age at which a woman can get married. When I saw it I was concerned, but I could not bring myself to agree that Senators Chris Anyanwu, Nkechi Nwaogu, Oluremi Tinubu and other women of the Nigerian Senate will vote for such a provision. It didn't make sense, so I decided to do some "research" before joining the band wagon of social media activists who tend to operate on emotion and sensationalism, and not the facts for the most part.

These are the facts and the truth.
Section (29) subsection (1) of the Nigerian Constitution as amended states that "Any citizen of Nigeria of "full age" who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.
Subsection (4) of section (29) states:
For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section.
(a) "full age" means the age of eighteen years and above;
(b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of "full age."
What the Nigerian Senate voted on was the deletion of Section (29) subsection (4)(b) of the Nigerian constitution.

It is very specific and only applies to Section 29 of the Constitution. What that basically means is that women who are married will no longer be deemed to be of "full age" for the purposes of "addressing citizenship questions." Essentially, a married 14 year old woman cannot renounce Nigerian citizenship. They have to wait until they are 18 years of age.
That is what they voted on.

So where did we get the story that the Nigerian Senate voted to reduce the marriageable age?
Why are Nigerians like this? Why do we love sensationalism rather than the facts? We complain about our leaders, but on simple things, we don't seem to be able to do better. Research and find the facts. Follow the truth and not the crowd. Tomorrow we will wonder why the leaders take us for granted. Can we blame them? When we don't display the capacity to reason and do due diligence to issues, how much of a threat can we project to the establishment?

God help us. We seem to have a long way to go as citizens."


  1. Naija for sale, china abeg come and buy, we are not serious at allllllllllll at alllllllll.

  2. The whole gist is even beginning to confuse me sef. Make I just dey watch. I just dislike that yerima man, even his "good" smells of evil.