Wednesday 24 July 2013


The alleged voting for child marriage in Nigeria has been clarified; some senators have declared that the public misconstrued their position on the issue. Senators Akin Odunsi, (ACN Ogun West) and Atiku Abubakar Bagudu (PDP Kebbi Central) briefed journalists that the Senate position on the issue was completely different from both the public and media views. Senator Odunsi, explained that the alleged under age marriage provision was an existing law in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as contained in section 29 clauses 4(b) which states that" any woman that is married in Nigeria is of full age" He explained further that the Senate wanted to amend the archaic clause and not create the law as wrongly portrayed by Nigerians. He said the move was not successful due to shortage of 13 votes because 60 senators voted for its removal as against 73 required votes while 35 voted for its retention. 

Senator Abubakar Bagudu, on his part explained that it was unfortunate that the Senate has been drawn into what he described as unnecessary debate. He emphasized that the alleged endorsement of the Senate for under age marriage in Nigeria was a terrible misrepresentation of what the Senate considered or voted for under section 29 clauses 4(a) and (b) of the Nigeria constitution and as presented for consideration by its committee on Constitution review. He further stated that the issue of renunciation of citizenship was what the Senate considered and voted on as far as section 29 clauses 4a and b were concerned and not anything about marriage. He stated: "Clause 4a of section 29 of the 1999 constitution defines a full age for any Nigerian who wants to renounce his or her citizenship to be 18 years and above while clause 4b states further that in the case of women, aside the 18 years prescribed in clause 4a, any woman that is married can be considered to be of full age".

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