#ChildNotBride And The Nigerian People.

Pedophilia is disgusting. No, disgusting does not fully describe it. It is inhumane. And so, when I got a hint somehow on social networks that Nigerian Senators were about to sign an act of the constitution allowing early marriages, I was alarmed. What were they thinking? It is bad enough, Yerima is married to a fifteen year old, but now signing an act to endorse the craziness , preposterous! At first, I was in denial and just ignored it, I didn't read about it or tweet about it or anything. I ignored it.

However, last week, I stumbled on a post by Myne Whitman, on her blog talking about the issue. It was there I realized that  section 29 of the Nigerian Constitution which was supposedly the reason for the uproar contains a completely different issue. You can understand my disappointment when I realized what was in section 29 of the constitution;
 29. (1) Any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.
(2) The President shall cause the declaration made under subsection (1) of this section to be registered and upon such registration, the person who made the declaration shall cease to be a citizen of Nigeria.
(3) The President may withhold the registration of any declaration made under subsection (1) of this section if-
(a) the declaration is made during any war in which Nigeria is physically involved; or
(b) in his opinion, it is otherwise contrary to public policy.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section.
(a) "full age" means the age of eighteen years and above;
(b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.

 The part under contention is actually section 29(4)(b) which the senators had wanted to remove because it seemed to be a repetition of 29(4)(a) since Section 21 of the Child’s Rights Act of Nigeria already nullifies the marriage of persons below 18 years. There is a punishment of N500,000 or a 5 year jail term, or both for offenders, so I wonder why Senator Yerima still walks free and a senator.

I was not disappointed because of the content of section 29 of the constitution, I was mostly disappointed that people didn't get their facts right before jumping into conclusion about majority of Nigeria's legislators. Not that I'm a fan of any of them in the first place. But it became so clear that Nigerians have no iota of trust in our leaders, not that they can be blamed. But how do you run a successful government, when the people you're supposed to represent do not trust you. Many people are frustrated and angry and it makes them jump into unnecessary conclusions, but this is a very sensitive issue and should be treated as such. With the presence of social media, it has never been easier to spread all types of news. The only reason a woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age is for the purpose of renouncing their citizenship, if they so wish, what then is the problem?

Instead of digging up issues that do not exist, why not join heads and agree to sign petitions tackling the many other issues we are facing presently. There are hundreds of such problems, literally. By signing of petitions, I'm not talking of people sitting behind their computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones ranting away. I'm talking about people actually getting into action and speaking against what is wrong. You see, there are always distractions, things to make us lose sight of the real problems. There always will be. Because, as a people, we are easily distracted.

Of course, I still detest Pedophilia and its many forms. Child molestation, rape, trafficking, harassment or whatever thing people do to the detriment of children MUST be spoken against and STOPPED. Those are the types of problems to be tackled and conquered and they will be.  In fact, if that is the positive outcome of this 'Constitution Saga', great! Because, it means that it has called the attention of the Nigerian people to some of the problems our society is facing. If it is a wake up call, if that is what it takes to jolt Nigerians into action, then so be it.

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