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Leaders should think about the effects on the girl child

24 July 2013, 13:38 Maobuye Nangi Obu

When I said the Nigerian Politicians Constitution does not consider the ‘common-man’, people misconstrued me. When I also said most Nigerian Christians and Muslims are over-zealously religious bigots, and our hearts are far from God; some folks thought I was taking the mickey out of our ‘failing’ religious leaders and followers/worshippers. When I said our lawmakers are about the worst in the world, some people saw it as an affront. This is because; most of them lacked tact, depth and are grossly inhumane (in this case, our legislators).

How can a sane man allow his twelve or thirteen year old female child to be married to a sixty or even a thirty year old man? And, when this nonsensical issue was brought to the floor of the Nigerian Senate, some fathers and grandfathers Okayed the heartless idea. Some people are truly sick.

I watched with shame and disgust how the Nigerian Senate made up of fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers and mothers resorted to sink this very low to even ‘debate’ a sickening clause that needs urgent quashing. What is the significance of any law if it does not serve the general interests of the people? Why does law guide us anyway? Shaking my hydrocephalus already, may God help us.

Too often we’ve had ‘emergency’ activists, musicians and celebrities without content and style. In fact, I’m perturbed with the current trend. If you’ll agree with me, most Nigerian girls/ladies of nowadays wants to be seen on television and be talked about; they want to be celebrities, super-models and movie stars. Now, what’s the essence of being a ‘star’ (especially, a female) when you cannot use it to impact your generation and fellow women positively?

Where are the movie stars (actresses as they call them)? Where are the musicians and so called super-models? Where are the most beautiful girls in Africa, the world, Nigeria, Kirikiri, and Aso rock? Most of these beauty queens (so called most beautiful girls) were not pushed or coerced to marry any alhaji, imam or pastor at a tender age. In fact, we’ve heard cases where some of them dated our legislators, Governors and show organisers to get to the top. May I ask, is any Nigerian beauty queen less than thirteen years? Why are they keeping quiet?

Funny enough, I’m surprised still at the mum disposition of the Nigerian/National Council for Women Societies (NCWS). First, the current President of the NCWS is from the North where this inhumane sacrilegious act is predominant, what is her take? Okay, let’s assume she’s rehearsing on what to say, what about our renowned professor the current minister of Education?

Could this be lack of proper Education of some of our people up North wanting this (under-age marriage) on religious grounds? Can’t Education play a leading role of tailoring on religion? What has this woman (Prof.Rukkiayautu Ruffai) done or said? Did she travel to mercury or planet Pluto? Brave it ma’am, say something.

As if that is not enough, where are the Hajiyas (the First Ladies in the North), what is their take; on their husbands and the misled public? Particularly where is Hajiya Titi Abubarkar and her NGO againsting Women trafficking? Isn’t this the best time to speak up? Or, should I say she was interested then because her husband was the Vice President?

Okay, let’s move on. What is Prof.Dora Akunyili’s take on this madness displayed in the Senate? What did Senators Joy Emordi, Chris Anyanwu and other female Senators say? Where is Okonjo-Iweala, what is her take? Will I ever forget Mrs.Ezekwesili? Did she forget to say anything this time? And, where is our mama the First Lady? Shamefully, I have not seen any women group protesting against this madness on the girl Child.

Still moving on, where is that liar (EL-Ruffai)? This particularly affects his region and religion (though concerns every Nigerian). What has El-Ruffai said so far? Please, has Prof.Ango Abdullahi gone on sabbatical? What is his take on this? Where are the Imams? What has Generals Buhari, IBB and Abdusallami got to say? Would they allow their twelve or thirteen year old daughters to be defiled by a fifty or sixty or even a thirty-year-old man in the ‘mad’ name of marriage?

What has Tinubu, Governors BRF, CRA, Aliyu, etc etc etc got to say? Would you allow this bad precedence take place because it does not affect your daughter? Gosh! This is unheard-of and disgusting. Where are we headed with religion in this Country?

Strenghts of their argument

I have heard some muslims say marrying an under-aged girl is allowed within the tenets of Islam. But some other muslims are disagreeing with this. Now are those muslims saying “no” different from the real muslims? Who’s fooling my people? Well, I am not a muslim so I will not argue this.

Also, most of these names I have mentioned here and many more out there are keeping quiet because they classed this as a sensitive issue that deals with religion. I also agree that only in Nigeria you would see people protesting and killing their friends, neighbours and colleagues for what took place in Denmark, Singapore or Turkey against their religion. Hence, most Nigerians are ‘careful’ to avoid recur. Okay then, let’s X-ray the weaknesses as follows;

The limitations

Is Christianity or Islam in Nigerian different from the ones practiced outside Nigeria? Please, do we have Christians or Muslims in the United States of America and the United Kingdom? Are they happy living in the UK or USA? Are their bibles or Qur’an different from the ones used here in Nigeria? Or, do we worship a God different from the God the Christians and Muslims in these countries worship? Also, can you marry when you’re under eighteen (under 18) in the UK and USA? This is a potential limitation in their argument.

Also, did the bible or the Qur’an say we should not have respect for constituted authorities (the Government)? Now, can’t the Government regulate our religious excesses? Yes, the constitution allowed for ‘freedom of religion”, but isn’t it foolish that this same constitution recognised a thirteen year as a Child until he/she is about seventeen or eighteen. Yet some unscrupulous failed bunch are trying to upturn the provisions of the constitution to favour their selfish ritual act.

Who is fooling who? How can a thirteen year old be allowed to marry; yet she’s considered a ‘Child’ in one section of the constitution? Is the constitution contradicting itself by saying a ‘woman’ can marry when she’s of age (adult)? I’ve said it before, it is either our lawmakers are all playing to the gallery because they cannot tell their friends the truth or, our religious leaders have failed to teach us properly. This is another limitation.

Lastly, is a twelve or thirteen year old mature enough anatomically to bear children or marry? This is “child abuse”, it is an offense in saner climates, when would Nigeria be sane? When would our leaders be sane? Please, our leaders should think about the adverse effects this would cause on the girl Child.

The Nigerian Senate must stop this madness.

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