In Nigeria, Senate Approves Marriage of Underage girls.

In a move that would be seen as the climax to an unfolding drama following approval of 14-year jail term for gays on grounds
of religious morality, the Nigerian Senate
has approved marriage for underage girls
also on the ground of religious morality.

Abuja – Ahmed Sani Yarima, former
governor of Zamfara state, who in 2009,
sparked international outrage after he cited
Islamic law rather than concupiscence of a
strange kind, to justify marrying a 13-year-
old Egyptian girl in violation of Nigeria’s
constitution, finally succeeded in getting his
colleagues in the Senate to approve
marriage for underage girls.

According to THIS DAY, the Senate, sitting to
consider recommendations of the Senate
Committee on Review of the Constitution,
had earlier voted to retain the section of
the constitution stipulating that a woman
shall not be qualified for marriage until she
is 18 years old.
The Senate moved later to alter the
provision after Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima
(Zamfara West) protested claiming that it
violated Islamic law.
In spite of a Senate policy prohibiting repeat votes on clauses, Yarima convinced his colleagues to strike out the age
requirement for women on the grounds that it was “un-Islamic.”
The drama began after the Senate passed
75-14 a proposed amendment that says:
“Any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age,” with subsection (a) defining “full age” as “the age of 18 years and above.”
Soon after the vote, Yerima drew his
colleague’s attention to item 61 (2.) under
part 1 of the second schedule to the
constitution which prohibits the National
Assembly legislating on matters pertaining
to Islamic and Customary laws. He argued:
“Under Islamic law, any woman that is
married is of age and if you say 18 years
you are going against Islamic law.”
Senate President David Mark responded
saying that the amendment had already
been passed through a vote and that in
keeping with Senate policy the issue would
not be revisited.
The Senate then went on to vote on
whether states should be allowed to
establish prisons. After a vote against the
proposed amendment, the Senate President
held back the gavel from the block and gave instructions for a second vote because of noisy distractions and inattention during the process.
Yarima saw this as an opportunity to
challenge the earlier decision not to allow a
second vote on the matter of marriage
age. He threatened angrily to walk out
from the chamber if his request was not
His demand led to a sharp exchange with
Mark, who insisted: “Senate can revisit it
once more but not now because Islamic
scholars can argue it and we can revisit
However, Senator Mohammed Danjuma
Goje (PDP, Gombe), accused the Senate
President of “double standard.” According to THE DAILY TRUST, Goje said: “Why do we have double standard in this Senate? On two occasions you allowed votes to be retaken on other clauses but you disallowed Senator Yarima.”
Mark responded: “I take serious exceptions
to say that I am doing double standard.”
Yarima, however, insisted that he wanted
another vote. Mark rebuked him sharply,
arguing that a second vote would have been unnecessary if he had raised the matter appropriately at the committee before it reached the floor.
He, however finally conceded, saying:
“Because of the sensitivity of issues on
religion I am revisiting it.”
A Senate composed significantly of men in
polygamous marriages voted 60 to 35 to
remove from the draft constitution the
requirement of 18 years for women being
The amendment which faces a good
prospect of final passage after it is
approved by the House of Representatives
says that a woman or girl who is married
shall be considered “of age” by virtue of her
status as a married woman, thus implying
that even an infant shall be considered to
be “of age” once married.
The Nigerian Senate thus approves
pedophilia in the constitution after having
passed a bill declaring homosexual relations
between consenting adults a crime.
According to The Daily Trust, the National
Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in
Persons (NAPTIP) investigated the allegation of child marriage against Yarima in 2010, but Nigeria’s Attorney General at the time, Mohammed Bello Adoke, said the Federal Government could not prosecute him because the marriage was contracted under Islamic law, which the constitution

Coined from Digital Journal