Groups of women comprising the Association of Widows and Less Privileged Empowerment and the Hausa-Fulani Women Group of Nigeria yesterday picketed the offices of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) over what they termed the undue attempt to prosecute Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima, accused of marrying an underaged girl. The women said they are against the Child Rights Act because it is a bill that does not guarantee the future of the average Muslim girl. Rita Audu, the president of the widows association, said the reasons why girls in the North are being married out early is because of the fear of HIV/AIDS and other related diseases that these girls might contract if they are left on their own. She added that Yarima had been nice to the widows right from when he was the governor of Zamfara State, and it is unfair that people are spoiling his name all over the country over his marriage to his 13-year-old wife. “There is nothing wrong with getting married at an early age. Most of us were married between the ages of 10-12, and nothing has happened to them. We didn’t contract VVF. What is being done is that your husband will not touch you until you are mature enough. Some girls are being kept in their parents houses until they reach the age of 17 or 18, which is the appropriate age for a husband to start having sex with his wife according to Islam. “We have been to Egypt to see the girl, and she is in good hands, under the custody of her parents, until she attains the right age before Yarima can touch her,” Audu said.
Addressing the women, NAPTIP’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Simon Chuzi Egede, e said the agency had received their grievances and would look in the matter. He said Nigeria is governed by rules and laws, made by the National Assembly and NAPTIP is only enforcing the laws, which child rights acts is among. “So, if there are any complains, they should be made to the National Assembly since they were the ones that made these laws.”
A Muslim group has urged Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima not to honour any invitation forthwith from any agency regarding the alleged marriage of a 13-year old Egyptian by the lawmaker.
The Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria(SCSN) Kaduna State chapter, stated this in a press conference yesterday in Kadua.
Addressing newsmen, its chairman, Malam Mohammed Sulaiman, argued that the recent attacks were not aimed at the senator but Islam in general, adding that it only portrays the negative impact of the Child Rights Act, which promotes western secular ideas of upbringing, contrary to the teachings of Islam. Islam encourages men to marry women of their choice irrespective of age, hence Muslims who have the intention to marry whoever they choose should go ahead without fear, he said.
“We wish to make it clear to all Muslims in this country that the essence of the Child Rights Act is promoting western secular ideas in the upbringing of children. We had a number of advertorials cautioning the Federal Government and the National Assembly not to dumbly accept to ratify this convention without consultation with Nigerian public, unfortunately the law was passed by the National Assembly in April 2003 and some states were immediately pressurized to pass such law.
“Sadly, the negative impact of the law is beginning to manifest and the focus of this is on Senator Mohammed Ahmed Sani’s alleged marriage of underaged child. The provision of the Child Rights Act section 21 contradicts the teaching of Islam. Islam encourages men to marry women of their choice as mentioned in Qur’an 4 verse 2 without any emphasis on age limit.”We wish to make it clear that any law that contradicts the essence of the teachings of Islam, our divine religion is unaccepted to the Muslims of this country.”
We are hereby calling on Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima not to answer any call of the so called NAPTIP again and any other relevant agencies because the supreme council of Sharia in Nigeria has taken the issue to court and the case will come up on June 3, 2010.
Finally, we are calling on all Muslims intending to marry any child or woman of their choice to go on because Islam allows that. Enough is enough.”
Arrangements have been concluded by the Niger State Government to dualize the Minna-Suleja-Abuja road.
The state deputy governor, Hon. Ahmed Ibeto, disclosed this in Minna during a courtesy visit on him by the Nigeria Communications Commission.
Ibeto explained that the decision to dualise the road was to open up the state and further boost its economy.
He said the dualisation, which would be executed through public-private-partnership, was part of the vision of the Aliyu-led administration to make Niger one of the three best developed states in Nigeria by the year 2020.
According to him, the recent acquisition of state-of-the-art ambulances for distribution to accident flash points was aimed at reducing carnage on our roads.
The deputy governor said arrangement has been concluded to acquire more ambulances for distribution to the local government areas.
Ibeto reiterated the determination of the state government to partner with any organisation or individual that is ready to add value to the lives of the people.
He explained that this was why the request for a piece of land by the commission was promptly met by the state government.
The leader of the delegation, Engr. Daniel Gambo, had earlier informed the deputy governor that they were in the state to inspect the level of work done at the zonal office.
Gambo expressed dismay that despite the three hydro power stations situated in the state, people have continued to groan under darkness.
He also lamented the absence of any private electronic broadcasting station in the state.
Gambo decried the lack of maintenance culture among Nigerians and urged the government to ensure adequate security at the commission’s zonal office in state.