Nigeria: The Senate revokes the amendment to marriage age limit!

Nigerian Feminist Forum

Recently, the Nigerian Senate proposed and passed an amendment to delete an existing clause in the Constitution that allows girls under 18, if married, to renounce their Nigerian citizenship. 

This has been the subject of many memoranda from women's groups in the past because it discriminates and recognizes under-18 marriages. The rationale for the amendment was that girls under 18 cannot make this sort of decision. Using this as their premise, the Senate approved and passed the amendment. 
Later, a Senator Yerima demanded a revote arguing that according to Islamic Law a wife of all ages is considered an adult. Senator Yerima is known to have entered into marriages with child brides, and this practice has been the cause of numerous protests in Nigeria. Though against procedures the revote took place and the majority of the Senate still voted for the amendment- 60 for, 35 against according to ‘This Day’, Nigeria’s leading national newspaper. Since a Constitutional amendment requires a 2/3 majority however, the amendment was not passed this time. 
Although the legal situation remains the same, many women and human rights groups are protesting against the failure of the amendment to pass, and, against under-18 marriages. They continue to try to pass the amendment at the House of Assembly. 
The Nigerian Feminist Forum has issued a statement calling on: 
 (a) The National Assembly to reconsider their resolution to remove the age limitation and 
(b) The African Commission to urge the Nigerian Government to fulfill their obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;  and under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; 
(c)  That the essence and true nature of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa is observed.
Join us in raising awareness about child marriages, and help us put pressure on the Nigerian Senate to reinstate the age limitation by circulating the story widely amongst your respective networks. 
To read the full statement, and for more ideas as to how you can support the cause, please click here.