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Groups fault Yerima on child marriage

BY JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA

LAGOS—Women’s rights groups across the country, under the aegis of Gender and Constitution Reform Network- GECORN, have condemned Senator Ahmed Yerima’s argument against the proposed deletion of a section of 1999 constitution which considered any married woman or girl as ‘of age’.

The Senate had last Tuesday reversed its decision, following Senator Ahmed Yerima’s description of the move as bias, un-Islamic and a violation of another section of the constitution.

National Coordinator, GECORN, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, describ ed Yerima’s argument as a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the intention of the 1999 constitution, said the embattled section contradicted Section 29(4a) which definedthe character of a Nigerian who is capable of denouncing citizenship, as a person of full age- 18 years and above, as stipulated by the Child Rights Act 2003.

“We ask, is the Senate saying that a 13 year old girl has the mental capacity to renounce her citizenship? Failure to delete Section 29(4b) has several negative implications: criminal liability can be placed on under age married girl child.  underage married woman can vote and be voted for.  can also obtain a driver’s license.  therefore urge the Senate to reconsider its position and call on the House of Representative to show progressive leadership by failing to concur on this provision and others that might retard the progress of this country”, Abiola said.


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