Teenage marriage: Women threaten mass action against Ahmed

2010-04-28
THE PUNCH Newspaper- John Alechenu


PUBLIC outcry against the recent marriage of a 13-year-old Egyptian girl by the former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima heightened on Tuesday with Women Civil Society groups threatening mass action against Yerima.



The threat by the women groups came on the heels of a call by the National Human Rights Commission on the Senate to investigate Yerima over allegations that he violated Section 21 of the Child Rights Act 2003 by his marriage to the Egyptian girl.



In a letter dated April 21, 2010, the Commission said its attention was drawn to media reports on the marriage contracted between the Senator and the Egyptian minor at the National Mosque a few weeks ago.



The commission said these allegations, if proved to be true, were in violation of Section 21 of the Child Rights Act 2003 which stipulates a five year jail term or a fine of N500,000 or both on conviction.



The women groups threatened to sit outside the National Assembly complex in Abuja until the Senator is sanctioned by his fellow lawmakers.



Also, they threatened to seek legal redress on behalf of the girl and others who have been victims of such actions.



President of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Dr. Mma Wokocha, who led the coalition of women groups to the Senate called for an immediate action to stop the Yerima’s marriage which she called an act of child abuse.



According to Wokocha, “The outcome of this problem is disastrous to the affected little girl. A little at 13, 15 or 17 even the 18 years old depending on the kind of maturity the child has, witnesses some have stunted in growth.



“The pelvic, the female organ of this little one is never mature; never ready for the duty naturally she has to perform, which is reproduction.



“When you marry them out at this early stage, is it because it is viewed as a commodity that can easily dispose of and a new one acquired.



Responding to these allegations, Senate Spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze said the Senate as an institution does not meddle in the personal affairs of individual members.



“My advice to those who feel so strongly about this issue is for them to go to Court. If they feel a law has been breached, they should go to Court; that is what the Courts are for, we make laws here we are not law enforcement agents,” he said.





 

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