Pro-child Bride Paedophile Senators Legalizing Vesico Vaginal Fistula

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igeria was thrown into a frenzy mood since the issue of early child marriage resurfaced in the Chamber of the Nigerian Senate. Most Nigerians went berserk on the amendment of Sections 26 and 29 of the Constitution that affect Citizenship and Renunciation of Citizenship respectively of a married woman that is silence on age.

Nigerians protest against the Senate’s resolution on underage marriage

There have been denials from the Senate President accusing his fellow Senators of blackmailing, denying, not belonging to the paedophile family; some blamed the Nigerian Media of misinforming the world about what they voted; while a Senator shed crocodile tears for his erroneous vote.

It was a smoke screen from the Nigeria Media to fore-warn the country on the dangers in that sensitive amendment. We understand that the vote was on the right of married women, regardless their age to renounce Nigerian citizenship. It was unfortunate that Yerima and others who voted not to delete that aspect with his reference to Islamic faith caught the attention of the Media in synthesizing Nigerians on his deceitful Sharia law that was supposed to be for Moslems ONLY.

Facts are that Section 29 of the 1999 Constitution permits a Nigerian citizen of ‘full age’ to renounce his or her citizenship by declaration in a prescribed manner, for which purpose ‘full age’ was stated to be 18 years and above. The subsection also provides that, ‘any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age’; Which Yerima used to marry his 13-year old Egyptian?

Senator Yerima, however, passionately lobbied against the removal of the clause, on the grounds that deleting that clause was against his indulgent of Islam. In his understanding, a girl, once married, automatically assumes the full mental capacity and responsibility to consciously make the prescribed declaration of renouncing her citizenship.

Senator Sanni Yerima, the Nigerian senator who married a 13 -year old Egyptian minor is

As the country has been betrayed before by Yerima on religious matters, smart Nigerians are not taking chances on the early child marriage. Sharia Law is causing some suspicious relationships within the country. The fact that an individual who is married to a 13-year old child and the architect of the cunning law on Sharia, sponsored the amendment, every Nigerian has risen against the Senate on the subject.

Regardless the reasons provided by the 35 Senators, or Yerima moral decadence excuses, Nigerians are not willing to play the game of ignorance again. ‘Child Marriage’ law is motivated by nothing more than the perversion of man, and the continuous excesses of particular lawmakers who sponsor and support such law.

Child sexual abuse is an issue that makes people extremely uncomfortable, because it hurts to think about anyone harming children. However, unreported or untreated child sexual abuse not only frightens children and destroys families, it also leaves offenders free to abuse and cripple future generations.

When put into the equilibrium scale Section 29 actually exposes the crippled 1999 Constitution and it further shows lack of understanding of the Constitution the Senators are amending; some are not honest with Nigerians; some are hypocritical; and some are there to collect the jumbo pay and finally what is happening within the Senate Chamber at the National Assembly. Ironically, despite the comfort arrogated to the Senators with their pay, what Nigerians get from them is Child Abuse, or Child Molestation legislation!

Some Senators fantasise engaging in sexual interest and sexual contact with pubescent or post-pubescent minors, which qualify them as members of the paedophile family. They are definitely suffering from paedophilia with their sexual interest in prepubescent children, which requires psychiatrist attention. What a shameless spineless Nigeria Senate endorsing under age marriage when the bride is still unable to have full experience in the monthly damper changing to be enshrined into child rearing.

Senate action is perceived as supporting child abuse, statutory rape of little girls, preventing them from getting their education, and lives their lives as kids. The Nigerian Senate ought to be reminded that its action is a clear violation of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which prohibits child marriage and betrothal as well as Article 6 (b) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which provides that the minimum age of marriage for women is 18 years.

It also violates Section 21 of the Child Rights Act of which forbids the marriage of persons below 18 years and imposes a punishment of N500, 000.00 or a five year jail term, or both; Article 18 (3) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the Conventions on the Rights of the Child and Article 27 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Definitely, those that supported child early marriage are the real Black Sheep of Nigerian Family. No one is black-mailing the Senators. I doubt if most of them knew what they voted on as a Senator from Ondo shed apologetic crocodile tears on his vote on the amendment. While the Senate Deputy President and Chairman on Constitution Amendment Committee, Ike Ekweremadu, acknowledged and defended Senators’ vote on the amendment on the early marriage, then reversed, stating that, it was the renunciation of citizenship that they voted on.

They must be drunk while working on the amendments. Nigerians ought to be alert at what the Senators are doing.

It is interesting to note that the thirty-five Senators succeeded in blackmailing the Senate to twist its stand to protect the controversial Section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 Constitution. Where is their brain in twisting their vote to mean something else, if for instance the Ondo Senator paid full attention to his job and responsibilities, he could not have “…voted in error…pressed the “No” button during the electronic voting session thinking that I was kicking against the early marriage.”

Senator Mark is on his second term as the Senate President without recognizing the body language of his Senators as what would be their motive in bringing such a well scripted amendment to the Chambers. More so, when Senator Yerima Ahmad Sani, claimed that the provision stipulates a certain age for women before getting married was at variance with Islamic law. That was a direct message to the Senate President as to the intention of the amendment.

Nigerians are not believing Senate President and not too happy with him on the statement that the proponents of underage marriage blackmailed the Senate. Sani, thereafter, thanked the Senate President and his colleagues for supporting his cause. What a Senate President!

It is a disservice to the country to bring issues that involve faith to the floor of the Senate. Underage marriage is neither a cultural or religious issue, it is a social issue that has public health and human rights connotations. The drum of religious war from the Senate is loud enough to get the attention of most decent Nigerians, against those morally bankrupt 35 Senators and the leader who did not put on his thinking cap when Yerima mentioned ‘Islamic interest’. Other Faithful that have been quiet on Muslim-Christian imbroglio may be ready to invoke their wrath on the Senate. We keep religion completely out of it because what is good for a Christian is also good for a Muslim, and other faithful.

Senator Sanni Yerima, the Nigerian senator who married a 13 -year old Egyptian minor is

Definitely, the 35 Senators that voted for the early child marriage are more interested in sexual interest in children which they demonstrate with the parade of free teenagers on the corridors of their Chambers and Offices seeking sexual favors from those that are old enough to be their grand fathers, which is the act of child sexual abuse.

Articles 34 and 35 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) require states to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. This includes outlawing the coercion of a child to perform sexual activity, the prostitution of children, and the exploitation of children in creating pornography.

Child sexual abuse is outlawed nearly everywhere in the world, generally with severe criminal penalties, including in some jurisdictions, life imprisonment or capital punishment. While incidents of child sexual abuse are on the decline, why should Nigeria wants to be an advocate for its continuous existence.

The practice robs children of their potential, setting into motion a chain of events and decisions that follow the victim throughout his or her life. The effects of child sexual abuse can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems.

What determines physical or biological maturity with the high rate of Vesico Vagina Fistula, even if and when a 15 year-old girl have children before being married is their biological maturity. This is out of religious interest of Western Education. The statistics with regards to cases of Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) in that part of the country where childhood marriage is practiced is nauseating.

A vesicovaginal fistula is a vaginal fistula that opens into the urinary tract.

One of the health challenges of child marriage, as Africans would not keep a married female in the house without sexual activities, is Vesicovaginal Fistula, which results into both Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) and Rectovaginal Fistula (RVF). As explained by wife, Julie, a medical expert, “fistula” is a communication between two major organs; ‘a collective medical term for any abnormal connection between two bodily organs’.

In the case of obstetric fistula, it is the result of pressure exerted by the foetal head in the pelvis during obstructed labor, a force that interrupts the blood flow to nearby tissues in the mother’s pelvis, resulting in two classifications Vesicovaginal Fistula and Rectovaginal Fistula.

VVF occurs when the blood supply to the tissues of the vagina and the bladder is restricted during prolonged obstructed labor, the tissues die between these organs, forming holes through which urine can pass uncontrollably. While RVF occurs in a similar way to VVF however, holes form between the tissues of the vagina and rectum, leading to uncontrollable leakage of faeces. After a doctor has confirmed the vesicovaginal fistula through a physical exam and an X-ray, the patient will require surgery to repair the vaginal fistulas. However we do not want to subject the poor unripe child into such a painful motherhood in the name of an obsessed child marriage, through violent rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or sexual grooming, as the child will be subjected to sombre pain through sexual contact with her grandfather.

The Nigeria Senate should not play ignorance, that, in partnership with governments, civil society, and UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes; UNICEF has laid the groundwork in a number of countries to tackle child abuses in all ramifications through local, social, and economic change efforts, and national policy legal reforms. As of today, August 2013, 55 Countries are parties to the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage, and Registration of Marriages. In 1994, the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women issued a nonbinding recommendation that countries adopt a minimum age for marriage of 18 years for both sexes.

Studies on child molestation were nonexistent until the 1920s and the first national estimate of the number of child sexual abuse cases was published in 1948. Child sexual abuse became a public issue in the 1970s and 1980s. Prior to this point in time, sexual abuse remained rather secretive and socially unspeakable. Feminism brought greater awareness of child sexual abuse and violence against women, and made them public, political issues.

Unfortunately, some Nigerians, who are suffering form paedophilia, would welcome any marriage, in as much ‘as the bride is physically matured’, and can deliver successfully, regardless the impact on the biology maturity or the health of the child.

Nigerians should seize this opportunity to pressurize Nigerian Senators to come up with strong legislation on moral decadence in the country and make express laws against child’s marriage and abuses, in line with UNICEF.

Nigerians should properly redirect their anger to achieve the desired result, protecting child sexual abuse, because it is apparent that even the Senate is lost on this. That Section 29 is more useful for a foreign child that has been forced into a marriage than it can benefit anybody when removed.

The message is that every morally upright Nigerian must rise up against underage marriage. One may hope that unlike in the past, this rediscovery of child sexual abuse that began in the 70s will not again be followed by collective amnesia.

Listen to Stella Damasus, Ambassadors for Red Cross, and the voice of the voiceless on Child Marriage on attempts to legalize marriage at age 13, in this 5.01 minutes video.

Femi Ajayi is a Professor of Policy, Management & Conflict Resolution, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State

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