Nigerians In Diaspora Ask Sen. Ugbesia To Withdraw Support For Child Marriage

Senator Odion Ugbesia
Senator Odion Ugbesia

Senator Odion Ugbesia representing Edo Central Senatorial District has been asked by about 28 Nigerians and organisations in the diaspora, to withdraw his purported support for the section of the constitution widely seen as encouraging underage marriage.

“We expect that as our representative, you will be prepared to take responsibility for your actions in your duties on our behalf. To paraphrase a wise saying, when we cannot stand for our values, they become hobbies. In that spirit, we ask that you make a public and unconditional written retraction of your support against the repeal of Section 29(4b) of the constitution as soon as possible to align with the wishes and aspirations of members of your constituency on this issue”, a statement signed by Prof. Joseph Igietseme (USA), Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, Facilitator, Voices of Edo Women (USA), among others, berated Ugbesia for his inability to meet the expectations of his constituents.

“Furthermore, considering the fact that serious socio-cultural issues bordering on abuse of the girl child, including girl-child trafficking and prostitution, and inequities in educational opportunities and community/traditional rights, are also burning issues in Edo State; we are also using this opportunity to call on you to publicly unveil a progressive and concrete agenda for the empowerment of the girl-child and of women in Edo Central Senatorial District and your support in general for the empowerment of girls and women in Edo State and Nigeria,” the statement said further.

“Your statements and actions so far do not encourage us to believe that you have really thought about the gravity and ramifications of the vote relating to underage girls that you recently cast at the Nigerian Senate, and that you are prepared to constructively dialogue and address the worldwide concerns,” the concerned Nigerians said.

Giving their interpretation of Section 29 (4b) of the Constitution that states: ‘…Any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age,’ they said: “The meaning of this provision is to the effect that although the same Constitution considers 18 years the legal limit for adulthood, which also signals the beginning of the right to vote, a married girl who is under the age of 18 will be considered an adult for the purposes of renouncing her citizenship.

“By extension, that means any girl child, no matter how young she is, who has been married off to someone (no matter how that happened), is considered an adult because she is married. Her biological, physical, emotional and mental maturity is not taken into consideration in considering her an adult.

“What qualifies her to become what we can call ‘artificial adult’ is simply the fact of her being married. Your vote appears to support this culture of institutionalised underage marriage; if you don’t support underage marriage as you now profess, why would you vote that a product of the archaic practice should be recognized and classified as an adult in the contemporary Nigerian society?”

“Besides, declaring a girl under 18 to be an adult once she was “married” also implied she could vote in an election,” the concerned Nigerians said.

2 Comments

  • @Joan Jowata Akhere Obiyan stop being a story teller my brother, there are many other important issues you can object to like bad roads, better education, food security, self reliance e.t.c. instead of allowing yourself to catch high Blood Pressure or stroke from this one issue which has no direct consequence or impact on you please.

    Also note that people are getting more educated in our society, you can’t make a statement today without a sensible person who reasons logically making a research on it. We seize to allow half baked illiterates or educated illiterates to simply tell us what is right or wrong & simply follow. We are guided by our scriptures & I believe it is only constitutional that this is considered in the best interest of the Nation.

    I am not one of those who claim to be a Muslim & will simply succumb to influence from the public because something is highly criticized.

    IT IS VERY UNFORTUNATE TO EAR AN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN PROFESSOR MENTIONING NIGERIANS AS ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUSLY SENTIMENT PEOPLE (COUNTRIES) IN THE WORLD, MEANING WE ARE BLINDED BY OUR SENTIMENTS & EMOTION WHEN RESPONDING TO EVERY SINGLE ISSUES.

    For your information go through the details below:

    In New Hampshire, United States, legal marriage age is 13 for girls and 14 for boys!
    In Michigan (US) it is 15 but girls can be married below 15 with parental consent.
    In Indiana (US) a girl can be married at 14 if she becomes pregnant.
    In Hawaii and Georgia (US) it is 15 with parental consent.
    Now let us go outside America, in Britain it is 16, in fact it is 15 in most European countries.
    In Venezuela it is 14 with parental consent,
    14 in Paraguay, 14 in Mexico, Bolivia 14.
    Coming to the African continent, the legal marriage age is 14 in Mozambique and 15 in Gabon. In Angola it is 15, Niger 15, Cameroon 15, Congo DR 15, Benin 15, Kenya 16 and Madagascar 14. In Equitorial Guinea it is 12!

    Sourcesd from MURIC

    References;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age, gulfnews.com, http://www.wunrn.com/news/2011/09_11/09_19/091911_minimum.htm, http://marriage.about.com/cs/teenmarriage/a/teenother.htm

  • @Joan Jowata Akhere Obiyan stop being a story teller my brother, there are many other important issues you can object to like bad roads, better education, food security, self reliance e.t.c. instead of allowing yourself to catch high Blood Pressure or stroke from this one issue which has no direct consequence or impact on you please.

    Also note that people are getting more educated in our society, you can’t make a statement today without a sensible person who reasons logically making a research on it. We seize to allow half baked illiterates or educated illiterates to simply tell us what is right or wrong & simply follow. We are guided by our scriptures & I believe it is only constitutional that this is considered in the best interest of the Nation.

    I am not one of those who claim to be a Muslim & will simply succumb to influence from the public because something is highly criticized.

    IT IS VERY UNFORTUNATE TO EAR AN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN PROFESSOR MENTIONING NIGERIANS AS ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUSLY SENTIMENT PEOPLE (COUNTRIES) IN THE WORLD, MEANING WE ARE BLINDED BY OUR SENTIMENTS & EMOTION WHEN RESPONDING TO EVERY SINGLE ISSUES.

    For your information go through the details below:

    In New Hampshire, United States, legal marriage age is 13 for girls and 14 for boys!
    In Michigan (US) it is 15 but girls can be married below 15 with parental consent.
    In Indiana (US) a girl can be married at 14 if she becomes pregnant.
    In Hawaii and Georgia (US) it is 15 with parental consent.
    Now let us go outside America, in Britain it is 16, in fact it is 15 in most European countries.
    In Venezuela it is 14 with parental consent,
    14 in Paraguay, 14 in Mexico, Bolivia 14.
    Coming to the African continent, the legal marriage age is 14 in Mozambique and 15 in Gabon. In Angola it is 15, Niger 15, Cameroon 15, Congo DR 15, Benin 15, Kenya 16 and Madagascar 14. In Equitorial Guinea it is 12!

    Sourcesd from MURIC

    References;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age, gulfnews.com, http://www.wunrn.com/news/2011/09_11/09_19/091911_minimum.htm, http://marriage.about.com/cs/teenmarriage/a/teenother.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *