The Senate has defended its decision to
retain a controversial section of the constitution that seems to support child
marriage, asking Nigerians to be calm and understand that the section has
nothing to do with marriage, but instead citizenship.
The Senate said Nigerians had nothing to fear
as it will never support child marriage, a subject at the centre of the
controversy over Section 29, subsection 4(b) of the constitution. “This has
nothing to do with child marriage; we will never support child marriage,” said
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who heads the review committee, said.
That section details guidelines for a
Nigerian to renounce his or her citizenship. Part of the law says the person
must be at least 18 years. But if the person is a woman and married, the
section continues, she shall be deemed to be “of age”.
An attempt by the Senate last week to delete
the second definition having to do with a married woman, as part of its ongoing
constitutional amendment, failed after a member, Ahmed Yerima, claimed it was
The failure has sparked intense public anger,
one of the most sweeping, against a decision by the National Assembly in years.
Here is Tonto Dike's reply tho: