CANANUSA.ORG, NY, July 23, 2013---As the process for the amendment of the Nigerian 1999 constitution progresses, CANAN, today wants to commend those who have spoken out clearly in condemnation of a law that seeks to promote Child Marriage in Nigeria.
We are aware that a recent draft amendment to ensure that the marriage age be clearly stated as 18 years and above was defeated in the Nigerian Senate. This is a most shameful outcome!
Based on records from United Nations Children’s Fund, Nigeria is among countries where underage marriage is thriving attendant with all the physical and mental damages to the Girl-Child, including Vesicovaginal Fistula, which makes the little girls incontinent, dripping urine and feces!
It is shocking that we can find a significant number of the Nigerian upper chamber lawmakers that are so uneducated and uninformed, and at least one that is currently known to be keeping an underage wife!
We are concerned at the level of ignorance of some of this senators, who are among the best paid lawmakers in the world!
But it is an outrage that a Nigerian lawmaker married to an underage is still allowed to sit in that chamber having clearly violated the Child Right Acts. It is a travesty that the Senate Ethics Committee have not challenged this senator, and also that the Nigerian Attorney-General not brought charges against him!
It is because of these two critical failures in the system that has allowed the same Senator to block the passage of a common-sense amendment to the Constitution; an amendment that proposes to act in line with the Child Rights Act by stipulating age 18 as the minimum age for marriage.
We are today calling on the Senate President, Honorable Senator David Mark to use his good offices to correct this reproach on the integrity of the Nigerian Senate. We are also calling on the Nigerian House of Representative to avoid a similar occurrence at the other chamber of the National Assembly.
To paraphrase JFK, let it be clearly stated that in the defense of the Girl-Child, all Nigerians of goodwill all around the world should be prepared to ‘support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival’ of the Nigerian Girl-Child from the rapacious onslaught of a few greedy men who are trying to have their shameless way against defenseless girls.
We at CANAN want to be counted in and we are calling on all our members in the United States to add their voices against this wickedness and pervasion.
It is however encouraging that support for the Nigerian Girl-Child cuts across religious and ethnic divides in the country.