The Senator representing Kwara Central and Chairman Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki has refuted widespread reports of a sponsored bill before the Senate which seeks to legalize child marriage.
Senator Saraki said as far as he knows, there is no direct bill expressly proposing child marriage or any other one for that matter indirectly seeking to make a provision for such marriages, adding that it will be presumptuous to make any further pronouncement on the issue.
The Senator was speaking on the backdrop of a debate on the floor of the Senate where Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima (ANPP, Zamfara) and some Senators reportedly argued for the recognition of child marriage.
Speaking on behalf of Saraki, his Special Assistant on Media and Advocacy, Bamikole Omishore in a statement said “For the avoidance of doubt, the Distinguished Senator however said that if the information needed was the clarification about comments made by some senators during the voting on constitutional amendment, then he cannot hold fort for the opinions of the other Senator on the provision relating to the legal age for capacity to renounce citizenship under the Nigerian constitution.”
Mr. Omishore quoted Senator Saraki’s numerous comments on his website and social media pages making his position clear thus, “What I can tell you is that one of the uppermost principles which I uphold as a Senator is the wellbeing and protection of children irrespective of their religious background or their social status. The girl child especially needs protection under our law, therefore any bill or legal provision which is aimed at promoting the rights of any child, the wellbeing of children generally, the prohibition of practices that inhibits the girl child and her potentials and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against any child will continue to receive my unflinching support.”
The statement further adds that Senator Saraki during his tenure as Governor of Kwara State was the first among his colleagues in the 19 northern states, to sign the Child Rights Act into law thereby domesticating the United Nations convention on child rights.
It concludes by reiterating the Senator’s earlier stand to oppose any bill that seeks a contrary objective to his belief in the wellbeing and protection of the girl child.