Nigerian Senate Fails to End Muslim Practice of Marrying Little Girls

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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In July word spread like wildfire in Nigeria through news websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook that the Nigerian Senate had voted to legitimise child marriage.

As part of its review of some sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Senate took a vote on July 16 concerning the removal of clause 29 (4)(b).

That clause states that “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age”, essentially legitimising child marriages by establishing that any girl younger than 18 is automatically mature enough to handle the responsibilities and realities of marriage by virtue of her involvement in the act of marriage itself.

This is blatantly circular since it essentially eliminates any minimum age of marriage or the crime of statutory rape. If a little girl is married, then she’s retroactively deemed old enough to have married.

The acknowledgement of child marriage would have been on its way out of the constitution if it had not been for the intervention of one particular Senator. Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima of Zamfara West led calls on the floor of the Senate to reject the constitutional committee’s recommendation for removing the clause.

Yerima, who himself is widely believed to have married a 13-year-old girl in 2009, pushed for a second vote on the matter following an initial vote which had produced the majority required to remove the clause, arguing that under Islamic law a woman is of age once she is married, and that Nigeria cannot legislate on marriages under Islamic rites.

Yerima’s invocation of Islamic law succeeded in forcing a second vote as President of the Senate, David Mark, recognised the issue as “sensitive”.

Sensitive means Muslims will kill over it. Meanwhile what is that kind of like like.

Aisha, nine, was quietly rushed through the corridors of Zamfara’s Faridat Yakubu general hospital. Its cheerful cornflower blue walls belie stories of the hidden horrors of early marriage. Aisha does not have the words for what happened to her on her wedding night. Her husband, she says, did something “painful from behind”.

Nearby, Halima was on her third visit in three years. “I like it here. It is the only time I ever see a television,” she says. Just shy of 13, the newlywed came under pressure to demonstrate her fertility. “I thought [being in labour] would never end,” she adds softly.

  • Juaniita

    sounds like child rape to me

  • MarilynA

    These pedophiles are just following in the foot steps of their prophet. It’s just a matter of time before they bring this practice to the US along with their female mutilation practice called circumcision. We already have honor killings. We can’t criticize it because it’s their customs and everyone knows that whatever they practice where the come from is Okay unless you are a Islamaphobe..

    • bruce lorraine

      Don’t kid yourself if islam is in America so are it’s practices, all of them.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Yerima’s invocation of Islamic law succeeded in forcing a second vote as President of the Senate, David Mark, recognised the issue as “sensitive”.

    Since Islamic totalitarian law emanates directly from the Koran, which further emanated directly from Allah (God), as Muslims claim the Koran is the direct verbatim testimony of Allah (God) as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel, it is therefore perfect, totally flawless, and absolutely just, and because Islamic totalitarian law is divine and therefore infallible, then it must always supersede and abrogate any and all laws created by very fallible man. Indeed, this is one of the biggest reasons why the sole fundamental purpose of Islam is the subjugation into Islamic totalitarianism of all religions and all infidels through both violent and non-violent jihad and the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is not only Islamic totalitarian law, but also Allah’s (God’s) law.