Nigeria: Home News Q & A Jobs More Child Marriage:Ex-Gov Saraki’s wife seeks amendment of constitutional provision

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Wife of former Kwara State governor and founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, WBFA, Mrs Oluwatoyin Saraki, has called for an  urgent  amendment of Section 29 (4) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic  of  Nigeria,  1999  (as  amended), legalizing child marriage.

In a position statement on the resolution of the Senate to retain provisions of the Section in question, Saraki pointed out that the constitutional amendment was desirable for  clarification  purposes, and  to eliminate all forms of equivocation that can and will promote the continued abuse of girls through child marriage.

In the statement signed by the WBFA Executive Director, Mr Temitayo Erogbogbo, the body  expressed  grave  concern over the Senate’s resolution which, it said, disenfranchises girls  and  women,  and encourages  child  marriage which robs girls of a good education,  optimal  health, opportunities  for  socio-economic empowerment and violates their  rights  to  security  and protection from all forms of physical and mental abuse.

“Section 29 (4) (b) contradicts conventions that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a signatory to, which  profess,  as  commitments, the protection of the rights of girls and women  from all forms of  abuse, neglect  or  discrimination, as well as providing  the best-available opportunities  for  self-actualization  and fulfillment, through education and other means,” the statement said.

“The  evidence  is  clear  that  child  marriages  deny  girls  of an opportunity to complete an education,  thereby directly diminishing their chances at a good life. In line with the Foundation’s long-standing policy we shall continue to strive for improved well being of the girl-child  by  protecting  their  rights to  security;  protection  from  all  forms  of  physical  and  mental abuse; education;  health; and social  and  economic  empowerment, irrespective  of  their  religious  or  cultural backgrounds.”

Calling for the rejection of any form of stigmatization  of  married minors, as well as seeking exceptional and increased protection of child rights and citizenship benefits for all existing married minors, the statement said,“ We look to the House of Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to support our call to action to this end.” According to the WBFA, child marriages are detrimental to a girl’s health, by a direct effect.  “Young girls, by virtue of the fact that their bodies are not yet fully developed, run a high risk of developing complications in  pregnancy  and  childbirth,  compared  to women. Such complications include prolonged and  obstructed labour, bleeding,  and  even  death.  Girls  who  are  married  young  are also more vulnerable to contracting sexually  transmissible infections  (STIs),  including  HIV/AIDS”.

The statement observed that chain reaction that results  from a mother’s ill-health  also  have  direct  effects on income-generation, especially in  Nigeria  where  the  informal sector, mainly driven by women and girls, has contributed largely to household income.

“Therefore, there is an  urgent  need  for  the  amendment  of Section  29  (4)  (b)  of  the  Constitution  of  Nigeria,  if  the government must keep to its word of ensuring good health and economic prosperity for its people”

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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