#Gender Rights and Issues
United Nations

The Nigerian National Assembly on July 17,2013 amended the constitution and changed the laws of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On this day, the senate altered Section 29 (a) of the constitution that stipulates that a woman shall not be qualified for marriage until she attains 18 years of age, as they deleted age specification for women being married from the draft constitution and left the marriage age for women open.

This means that anyone can pick up any girl starting from age zero and get married to her under this new amendment. It is no surprise that the sponsor of this amendment is no other than senator Ahmad Sani Yerima, the former Governor of Zamfara State who, about two years ago, took a thirteen year old Egyptian girl as his bride, in violation of the constitution’s provision at that time.

The justification for this new law as presented by the above-named senator was Islamic law. According to him, a female has attained womanhood/adulthood once she is married. In this reverse reasoning, it is not the attainment of maturity or adulthood that qualifies for marriage rather it is marriage that confers adulthood.

This new law is a gross abuse of the rights of the child and portends great danger for the Nigerian girl-child in addition to all the other unresolved challenges that she currently faces. At a face glance, it is easy to pick out several negative implications that this can have for the enhancement of child-rights. At a deeper look, there are graver consequences.

This is the motivation for this petition.

We, the undersigned, call on the UN to condemn and oppose this new law and by sanction if necessary.

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The Stop child Marriage in Nigeria! petition to United Nations was written by Tolulope Hyde and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.