No sooner had I written an article here on Sahara about the rise in the number of rape incidents in Nigeria only to learn that Nigeria’s House Senate wants to literally legitimise paedophilia in Nigeria by altering section 29(a) of our constitution which stipulates that a woman shall not be qualified for marriage until she attains 18 years of age.
This development begs the question ‘Is there something quite crude with our psyche that makes our men treat women as lesser human beings’? It was not long ago we learnt that then Governor Yerima of Zamfara State (one of the northern enclaves practising islamist sharia law) was marrying an Egyptian minor of about 13 years of age! He got away with it too! He is now using his position today as Senator Yerima Ahmad Sani – Zamfara West – to push for a law that legitimises the abuse and legalised rape of minor via the statute of marriage law.
In an age where inspirational teenagers like Malala are a vision of hope and a brighter future for young girls all over the word denied education, Nigeria House of Senate rather than develop laws that would give young girls hope, would instead find time to legitimise paedophilia on the grounds of religious morality. Religious morality? Are you kidding me? Apparently Yerima is reported to be one of the chief sponsors of this proposal. As widely reported, the Senate President, David Mark was not entirely enthused with this proposal. Having tried and failed to deflect Yerima’s persistence that the proposal be debated, caved in when the issue of religion was introduced to buttress the push for this crude law; religious morality.
This proposal or amendment (whatever is the technical term for it) might be passed after it is approved by the House of Representatives. The proposal say that a woman or girl who is married shall be considered “of age” by virtue of her status as a married woman. This means even your suckling and yet-to-be weaned daughters would be considered to be “of age” once married. How crude is this proposal?
One of the outcomes of this legalised paedophilia is the issue of Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF). I am no doctor but my own quick research on the net says VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault. In addition to the medical sequelae from these fistulas, they often have a profound effect on the patient’s emotional well-being.
At the risk of stereotyping, the truth is that this is very common amongst our young females in the northern part of Nigeria. Worse still is the fact that girls suffering with VVF are deemed as outcasts because of the awful smell resulting emanating form them. The smell is actually as a result of constant leakage of urine. Some of these victims (I can not call them patients as they have been harmed by physical abuse bordering on rape of a minor) are so young, and with the limited medical facilities in far flung rural northern communities, are left to their own devises. Can you picture your own underage daughter in such a position? I hate to think what they would have suffered via Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) as babies only to have to carry this added burden of VVF. What a life.
Of all the myriads of problems facing the country why is the legalised paedophilia law the one thing that is occupying the senate’s attentions? Where are the first ladies of this country? Would the Okrika Jesus Christ (Madam-at-the-top) allow her daughter be married off as an under age? Is this not an issue that should occupy the minds of our first ladies both at State and federal levels provided there is such a thing as ‘first ladies’? I would hope readers would be concerned enough to oppose this legalised paedophilia law and fight against it. Now is not the time to siddon look.
As before in my article on rape, I am again very enraged and angry about this proposal. Why do we think less of our women? Why? Why? Why?