Underage Marriage and the Leadership Question

Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima

Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima

By Philip Amiola

I have never been more grieved about the condition of the Nigerian state. Why do our leaders continue to make us a laughingstock before the world? We were just recovering from the Governors’ Forum fracas when we were again jolted by the show of shame in Rivers State House of Assembly. Now, the bug has moved to the National Assembly – and the legislators have done the unthinkable – a fraction of them has voted for underage marriage!
Underage marriage is just another euphemism for child abuse. Actually, it is tantamount to paedophilia. Merely contemplating the idea would have been utterly loathsome. It is therefore totally inconceivable that some sectarian demagogues in Abuja would actually attempt to give it legal backing. Apparently, these folks have been active proponents of this ignoble practice all along and were only seeking the slightest avenue to announce their shamelessness under the cloak of legislative duties.
Recently, while discussing my views on the gay rights debate on the Signorile Show – a radio programme that airs across the United States and Canada on Sirius XM Radio and globally online – I drew an analogy between homosexuality and paedophilia. It is unfortunate that the same lawmakers who condemned gay marriage now support paedophilia in a pitiable display of emotional entrapment that can very well pass for conflict of interest. While a sane legislature should be making provisions to fully execute the Child Rights Acts which stipulates 18 years as the minimum age of marriage for girls, some of our senators are seeking new ways to relieve their libido and assuage their concupiscence.
Let’s take note of these members of the Senate who are compromising the well-being of our girls. We cannot continue to commit our national destiny to this kind of people. They are misrepresenting us as Nigerians and trampling our national values! We must exercise our right to vote with greater discretion in subsequent elections. Meanwhile, let’s all lend our voices to the campaign against child marriage. A good place to start is sharing this article and similar ones across your social media platforms. You should also consider joining the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ChildNotBride.
Together, we will deliver the future!
Philip Amiola is a teacher, writer and campaigner of empowerment. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria and tweets from @PhilipAmiola.

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