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 United Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The  Law!

United Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The Law!

    1. E. Awa
    2. Petition by

      E. Awa

      Musica Mahala, Serbia


Updated Petition Against Under-Age Marriage In Nigeria.

On the 18th of July 2013, the Senate voted on an amendment of Section 29 of the Nigerian Constitution, the relevant part which was: Section 29 (1) Any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration prescribed manner for the renunciation. Sub-section 4 states: 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.

A majority of Senators -- totalling (up to) two-thirds of members as required for a constitutional amendment -- voted to delete clause (b). However, a request for a second vote was made by Senator Ahmed Yerima on the basis that the deletion of that clause was discriminatory against Muslim women, in that Islamic Law permits females to marry under the age of 18. The amendment was once again put to vote -- after eventual concession by the Senate President, following an initial objection to a deviation from Parliamentary rules on voting. A majority of Senators once again voted to delete clause (b). However, on this occasion, the required two-thirds majority was not attained, and the amendment was in effect defeated. Our position is that this clause legitimises the exploitation of female children since the effect of clause (b) quite simply is: a. To deem a female to be of-age, simply by virtue of the act of marriage; b. To thus legitimise the marriage of minors. c. To neutralise the provisions of Sections 21 and 31 of the Child Rights Act 2003, which serve to make unlawful marriage to and indeed intercourse with minors, defined simply as a child under the age of 18 years. Whilst it is acknowledged that this vote did not introduce Section 29 (4)b, since it was already in the constitution, it has however highlighted the need for legal protection for minors in the light of what is clearly a huge gap in Nigerian law.

Simply put, the law as it stands today, provides no protection for a minor being subjected to sexual intercourse regardless of age, as long as the same is done within the boundaries of marriage, even though she may not have the capacity to understand or appreciate the nature of the marriage contract. It is important to state that this matter is not simply part of a Muslim-Christian schism,  and it is noted that the votes in the Senate both for and against, appeared to cross both ethnic and religious lines. What is most important is that the effect of the retention of Section 29 (4)b will leave children all over Nigeria, whether Northern, Southern, Christian, Muslim or Animist with no protection from exploitation which is happening and will continue until action is taken.

The effects of Child Marriages are well documented and one of the most visible effects being the prevalence of the horribly debilitating disease Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) amongst young females in Nigeria. 12,000 cases are reported yearly in Nigeria, most of which are young females of northern extraction. This is not counting the unseen psychological and social cost inherent in mortgaging the lives of a generation of young children.

What we ask for is a universally applicable law protecting minors by defining a minimum marriageable age, since the simple fact is that without legislation, young children are legally exposed to sexual exploitation.

Please sign this petition, which could be your small contribution to ensuring huge positive change in Nigerian law and protecting many generations of Nigerian children, now and in the future, from sexual exploitation.

Thank you for your support!

Updated Petition written by Ed Keazor



Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The Law!

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Moving Toward Supporting Survivors!

      E. Awa
      by E. Awa
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you all so much for your support and concern for this petition. We want to remind you to keep the pressure on. At the height of the controversy, some members of the Nigerian Senate got together to promise something would be done. Since then, nothing more has been said. Obviously, they believe the storm has passed and business as usual can continue. Please let's continue to share this petition to remind them of their duty to defenseless girls.
      As a result of your support in the past month, I have received reports of young victims running away to seek shelter. One such report is of a seventeen year old, married at thirteen to a 65 year old, with two children and pregnant with a third. She sought help with a social worker but was forced to return to her terrible nightmare after funds to help her ran out. Her story is very hard to tell. She has befallen such misfortune, it breaks my heart. More to come on her and others in need of healing.
      Thanks again for your continued support.

    2. Reached 100,000 signatures
    3. Delivering The Signatures To The UN

      E. Awa
      by E. Awa
      Petition Organizer

      Greetings All,
      Thank you very much for supporting this petition to protect innocent girls from under age marriage in Nigeria. Your support is making the difference. We were able to reach the first step of getting these signatures to the UN. We await an acknowledgement of receipt from the UN body. At that point, we expect that many events will be organized across the world to continue to drive home the point that change is absolutely necessary. We hope these events will continue through October 1st, Nigeria's Independence Day anniversary. If you are organizing an event in this regard, pls notify us here and we will help get the information to others.
      Thanks again.

    4. Reached 30,000 signatures
    5. United Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The

      E. Awa
      by E. Awa
      Petition Organizer

      Nigerian Senate Leadership Meets To Discuss The Under Age Marriage Situation.
      A cross-section of advocates, including representatives of senior public officers, civics and professionals met earlier this afternoon at the premises of the Senate with the leadership of the Senate led by the President of the Senate, David Mark, GCON over the fallouts from the vote of the Senate to reverse itself on the deletion of Section 29(4)(b) from the Constitution.
      "I know that we brought this one on ourselves but please help us to get out of it. We are doing our best to get out of it."-Senate President
      We need to keep the signatures coming. An Acknowledgement from the Senate that there is a problem is just the beginning!

    6. Reached 25,000 signatures
    7. Updating the Petition.

      E. Awa
      by E. Awa
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks to all of you the movement has added new steam. We have completed correcting the errors in the original presentation and will be published later on tonight. While the original action by the senate was misunderstood, the case has actually reinforced many and highlights the need for unambiguous protection for girls who have none otherwise. I am submitting the update and several of your comments and NGO reports of victims to our UN contact. We expect that a formal presentation will be made on August 1, but our contact will send a letter acknowledging receipt of the statement and presenting us with a schedule of how this petition will move within the institution.
      Again, thank you for all the support. We just might make change for those who need it the most.

    8. Reached 15,000 signatures
    9. United Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage Law

      E. Awa
      by E. Awa
      Petition Organizer

      Greetings All! There are several new developments going on. We made contact with someone in the UN who is likely to assist us with a formal presentation. I have asked several knowledgeable people to contribute towards the wording of a statement to the press etc. Keep urging others to sign up. The more in number we are the better any outcome.

    10. Reached 2,500 signatures
    11. United Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage Law

      E. Awa
      by E. Awa
      Petition Organizer

      We are making progress with this petition. Please share it, take it with you to Church or Mosque. Let's make people power count for once!

    12. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • 4 days ago


    • Kallie Miller LONDON, CANADA
      • 4 days ago

      This abuse of women/girls must not be allowed

      • 4 days ago

      this is a crime against women and humanity! must be stopped.

    • Beyth-Shan Yodhhewawhe CELEBRATION, FL
      • 5 days ago

      The future of these children.

      • 11 days ago

      The Girl Child deserves a childhood and a future chosen and shaped by her when is is mature to do so. Stop snatching away the childhood and future choices of the female child.


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