Nigeria: Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima allegedly marries girl, age 13

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LAGOS, Nigeria — The marriage took place at one of the Nigerian capital’s most recognizable landmarks, under the golden dome of the National Mosque in front of an audience of the elite.

But the recent wedding of one of the Muslim leaders who brought Shariah law to Africa’s most populous nation is under scrutiny as human rights groups say he married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl.

As authorities investigate Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima, the marriage is drawing fresh questions about the role of religion in a country of 150 million people split between Christians and Muslims.

Yerima, 49, arranged the marriage with the girl after paying her family a $100,000 dowry, according to a complaint filed by the Nigerian Human Rights Commission in April. Initially, Yerima couldn’t arrange a visa for the girl to travel from Egypt to Nigeria, so he instead brought the girl through neighboring Niger, said Chidi Odinkalu, a lawyer for works for the Open Society Justice Initiative.

That leaves Yerima open to human trafficking charges, as well as possible child-sex and endangerment charges, the lawyer said.

“You don’t need the Quran or the Bible to get this,” Odinkalu said. “I think most people, irrespective of the cleavage between the two faiths, wouldn’t marry off their 13 year old.”

Yet 30 members of the girl’s family attended the ceremony at the National Mosque, the human rights commission said. It’s unclear who else attended the wedding. Ustaz Musa Mohammed, the chief imam of the National Mosque, could not be reached for comment.

Under child protection laws enforceable in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, a woman must be 18 before being able to consent to marriage. However, those laws aren’t enacted in all of Nigeria’s 36 states and activists say child brides have been married off in Muslim communities after their first period.

It also isn’t the first time Yerima has apparently married a child bride. The right commission alleged that he married a 15-year-old girl, only to divorce her at 17 as she nurses his child.

“The senator is in the habit of marrying minors and has gained notoriety in enticing girls to marry him,” the commission said.

Yerima himself appears unrepentant in recent interviews, though he has declined to say how old his new wife is.

“As a Muslim, as I always say, I consider God’s law and that of his prophet above any other law,” Yerima told the BBC’s Hausa language radio service. “I will not respect any law that contradicts that and whoever wants to sanction me for that is free to do that.”

Religion has played an integral part in Yerima’s political career. As Nigeria came out of a string of military dictatorships and into democracy in 1999, Yerima was elected as governor of Zamfara state in northern Nigeria. There, Islam has been the dominate religion since Muslim warriors on horseback claimed the territory in the early 1800s.

When he became governor, Yerima was one of the first politicians to champion the idea of putting a Shariah court system in place, which rules based on Islamic civil law. Now, more than a dozen northern states allow Shariah law, something that Nigeria’s Christian south warily accepted — if at all. Rioting and violence over the introduction of Shariah law left thousands dead.

Yerima himself blames the attention on his marriage to that, though it sealed his political fortunes.

“I consider all those complaining about this issue as detractors, because since 1999 … many people have been waging different kind of wars against me,” he said.

But those who have brought the allegations against Yerima are struggling not to make it a religious debate in a nation where killings over faith still happen. The Senate is investigating Yerima over allegedly breaking the law, while other agencies are examining whether he illegally brought the child bride into the country.

“He’s breached the law. It’s not about faith,” said Iheoma Obibi, executive director of Alliances for Africa, a human rights group. “In the campaign with the sisters from the north, we’ve been very careful not to address this in the religious situation.”

The whereabouts of the Egyptian girl remain unknown.

“She should be in school,” Obibi said. “She shouldn’t be rolling off your bed.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Slavery of Africans and Slavery in Africa

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Read Time:3 Minute, 12 Second

Although slavery has been practiced for almost the whole of recorded history, the vast numbers involved in the African slave trade has left a legacy which can not be ignored.
Slavery in Africa

Whether slavery existed within sub-Saharan African societies before the arrival of Europeans is a hotly contested point between Afrocentric and Eurocentric academics. What is certain is that Africans were subjected to several forms of slavery over the centuries, including chattel slavery under both the Muslims with the trans-Saharan slave trade, and Europeans through the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Even after the abolition of the slave trade in Africa, Colonial powers used forced labor – such as in King Leopold’s Congo Free State (which was operated as a massive labor camp) or as libertos on the Portuguese plantations of Cape Verde or São Tomé.

• Slavery in Africa
Islam and African Slavery

The Qur’an prescribes a humanitarian approach to slavery — free men could not be enslaved, and those faithful to foreign religions could live as protected persons. However, the spread of the Islamic Empire through Africa resulted in a much harsher interpretation of the law, and people from outside the borders of the Islamic Empire were considered an acceptable source of slaves.

• The Role of Islam in African Slavery
The Start of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

When the Portuguese first sailed down the Atlantic African coast in the 1430s, they were interested in one thing. Surprisingly, given modern perspectives, it was not slaves but gold. However, by 1500 they had traded already 81,000 Africans to Europe, nearby Atlantic islands, and to Muslim merchants in Africa.

• Origins of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

São Tomé is considered to be a principle port in the export of slaves across the Atlantic, this is, however, only part of the story.

• São Tomé and the Slave Trade
The ‘Triangular Trade’ in Slaves

For two hundred years, 1440-1640, Portugal had a monopoly on the export of slaves from Africa. It is notable that they were also the last European country to abolish the institution – although, like France, it still continued to work former slaves as contract laborers, which they called libertos or engagés à temps. It is estimated that during the 4 1/2 centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Portugal was responsible for transporting over 4.5 million Africans (roughly 40% of the total). During the eighteenth century however, when the slave trade accounted for the transport of a staggering 6 million Africans, Britain was the worst transgressor – responsible for almost 2.5 million. (A fact often forgotten by those who regularly cite Britain’s prime role in the abolition of the slave trade.)

• The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Information on how many slaves were shipped from Africa across the Atlantic to the Americas during the sixteenth century can only be estimated as very few records exist for this period. But from the seventeenth century onwards, increasingly accurate records, such as ship manifests, are available.

• How Many Slaves Were Taken from Africa?

Slaves for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade were initially sourced in Senegambia and the Windward Coast. Around 1650 the trade moved to west-central Africa (the Kingdom of the Kongo and neighboring Angola).

• Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves
Slavery in South Africa

It is a popular misconception that slavery in South Africa was mild compared to America and the European colonies in the Far East. This is not so, and punishments meted out could be very harsh. From 1680 to 1795 an average of one slave was executed in Cape Town each month and the decaying corpses would be re-hung around town to act as a deterrent to other slaves. Find out more about the laws and punishments imposed on slaves in the Cape Colony during the 18th century.

• Slave Laws in South Africa

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Political Abortion: Obama’s Stand on Nigeria

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Read Time:6 Minute, 37 Second

I pretend to understand how much hatred President Obama and his administration have towards Nigeria. During his several visits to Africa before and after his inauguration, President Obama has willingly and steadfastly boycotted a visit or stopover at Nigeria, Africa’s number 1 trading partner to USA. I understand that President Obama does not owe Nigeria a visit, if he chooses not to. He is entitled to his choices of places to visit as a person, president or both. Fair enough! However, giving consideration to Nigeria’s bilateral and friendly relationship with USA, of which past USA presidents has in numerous ways acknowledged, respected and nurtured, one would expect such good relationship to continue in an amicable and smooth manner. So far, it has been the opposite since the inauguration of the 44th President of USA.

However, what I will definitely like to understand is what President Obama’s aim at by adding Nigeria into the infamous list of “countries of interests”? Secondly, I do like to understand what are the criteria that set the standard for such list? Thirdly, the so called list of “countries of interest”, isn’t it a new brand name for “list of terrorist countries”? From my understanding it seems to me that the two names can be traded to mean the same thing. The annoying part is that Nigeria made the list of the so called “countries of interests” few years after she transited from military rule to democracy. In addition, she made the list at the time when her democracy is still fragile and wobbling and also when the country is having difficulties in attracting FDI as well as also experiencing a financial difficult time due to the global financial breakdown chain reaction that was created by the corrupt and greedy practices of well respected Americas` financial institutions. What else could be the best and most efficient way to motivate Nigeria or commend her struggles in her most critical times? Yeah, put her name in the damn list, that’s it, right?

Now, I sense that the relationship between Nigeria and USA is based on “blackmail” and “intimidation”. Will you not agree with me? It is even worse than the sort of relationship that exists between a slave and a taskmaster. To me the relationship seems like that of a jealous divorced husband blackmailing his ex, in order to get her back, or perhaps to make her pay, or even perhaps to punish her for divorcing him.

The question here is did Nigeria divorce USA in that she merited this sort of blackmail or punishment? Or did USA see Chinese growing influence in Nigeria threatening?  Halloo!! It is very interesting to observe the hand writing on the wall like the biblical Daniel.

It appears to me that the influential rise of China in Africa is a potential threat to USA’s and Europe’s clampdown, grip and stronghold in Africa’s economy. Obviously, in recent time many African countries have opened their economy to be explored, ploughed and developed by China. Many African nations have witnessed foreign direct investment (FDI) coming from China. Some of these African nations have testified publicly that Chinese presence has brought tremendous positive change, more than their western counterparts since the time of liberation or independence from colonialism. Would you blame these African nations for change in mind or direction, since their long time romance with the western nations and their corresponding companies has been like romancing with the fire? They got burnt, didn’t they? Of course, they did.  I guess that the sad depressing experience and the evident scars are there to show it. The long nights of political oppressive anguish pain, the never ending hours of economical and welfare torture and the perpetual deceit and treacherous acts, have all constituted to desire for a new direction and survival tactics by these African nations. Hence, another question is does this have a part in branding Nigeria into the list of “countries of interest”? You do not doubt that it has a part, do you? Look deeper my friend, you will find the clue.

The Nigerian born Abdulmutallab followed his own will and should face the consequences of his actions individually. Based on the known available facts surrounding the sad scenario and also based on good sense of judgment, it is out rightly wrong and unacceptable to judge the whole country with the action of Abdulmutallab. Should one say because America today occupies the number 1 position in the world statistics of the countries where citizens and individuals can easily snap and go ballistic and rampage with gun spree that eventually end up killing and massacring innocent people either in schools, or hospitals, or shopping malls, or streets, or in barracks, or the sub-way, or anywhere at anytime; that based on this account that America or Americans are potential psycho trigger happy people to be watched out for or included in the list of“ nations of interests”? I suppose not. If such answer is true and believable, then on what ground and reason should the whole entire country of Nigeria and her citizens be branded  a threat to America’s and world’s peace and safety, just because of the irresponsible and nonchalant behavior of one Abdulmutallab on 25/12/2009?

Abdulmutallab

President Obama should also remember that Al Qaeda is a common enemy Nigeria and America fight against.

Hey, hold on a second, should I be the one that have to remind President Obama the pedigree and courageous actions Nigeria has undertaken against terrorism in order to maintain peace within the African continent and the world? Perhaps I should and I gladly do it. Brief account, Nigeria fought against apartheid in South-Africa, singlehandedly fought for peace and power brokered the Liberian civil war, and has been highly involved in peace keeping mission in many nations in Africa such as DRC and Somalia (to mention but few). Nigeria is a new found home for most white Zimbabweans that are running away from the regime of Mugabe. The list of Nigeria good deeds is very long and outweighs her failures and mistakes in every ramification.

I believe that common sense if it is really common, can tell any one that Nigeria as a people and country is more mindful of doing good and great things that are beneficial to mankind,  rather than supporting cheap shot terror activities. Nigeria has never aimed at nor support terrorism nor secretly or publicly condoned terrorism. Therefore, apparently and undoubtedly, the action undertaken by President Obama’s administration by including Nigeria in the list of “countries of interest” is an epitome of “political abortion” to Nigeria’s embryonic democracy as well as her entire life and survival.  It is a deliberate misleading judgment.

Alas! Thank you indeed President Obama for creating such a political devilish tantrum over Nigeria and her population of over 140 million. Nigeria has now negatively advanced in her political, economic, and developmental jeopardy after the horrific announcement of the horrific inclusion into the list of the unpopular prestigious “countries of interests”. Think about it deeply, read the signs and analyze the current Nigeria’s situation. I have no doubt that you will un-reluctantly and gravely agree with me.

My take to this hyprocritcal fiasco will be for united states of America to think twice and withdraw Nigeria’s name from the list and ask for apology, knowing fully well that Nigeria as a country does not support or condone any act of terrorism

The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of codewit.info or codewit.com.” To have your articles publish, please submit them to editor@codewit.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Beast in Denial -Rise of xenophobia around the globe

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It’s quite amazing to see how hard times and austerity can strike up the real beast in humans both in those that claim to be most civilized and their counterparts that are regarded to be less civilized.

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Africa: The Dilemma of the 21st Century.

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Across the globe, Africa is presented as ‘no good’ a continent. It is violence, hunger, disease, corruption, poverty and ignorance. Continue reading

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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12.4bn oil windfall: Babangida has a case to answer, says Falana

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Following a petition by a coalition of civil society groups in the country seeking accountability for the missing $12.4 oil windfall, former military president General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida (rtd) has reportedly said that he “was not indicted by the Okigbo Report”, and that much of the funds were concentrated on infrastructural development of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Continue reading

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Does the OECD Know Where is Israel? Just say NO!!

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When words like “hush money,” “tax fraud” and “Republican slush funds” dominate the headlines, it is time for us to find new leadership. Continue reading

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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We Want Nigeria to Succeed,’ But Nigerians Have to Want That Too – U.S. Ambassador

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Read Time:10 Minute, 39 Second

The failed attempt on December 25, 2009 by the young Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to detonate hidden explosives on a flight to Detroit created an additional layer of complexity for U.S. relations with Africa’s most populous nation and leading oil producer.

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Obama Administration Broadens Ties to Nigeria

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Nigeria’s acting president, Goodluck Jonathan will take part in next week’s Nuclear Security Summit at the White House, where he is also expected to meet President Obama. On April 6, the administration took what Secretary of State Hilary Clinton called a “concrete step forward that will strengthen and deepen the partnership between our two nations” with the launch in Washington, DC of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission. In an interview, U.S. Ambassador Robin Sanders calls Nigeria an “extraordinary friend of the United States” and says American want to see Nigeria succeed. “But we can’t want more for Nigeria than Nigeria wants for itself.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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I Have Confidence in New Cabinet, Says Jonathan

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ACTING President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday inaugurated a 38-man cabinet with a vote of confidence on the new team, even as he issued a two-week ultimatum to come up with a blur print on quick-win project policies. Continue reading

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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