Outrage has followed the move by some members of the Nigerian Senate to legalize pedophilia under the guise of "Islamic tradition." A list of Senators who allegedly voted in favor of underage marriage has been published.
[See list of Senators who allegedly voted for underage girl marriage below]
Digital Journal reported that following a vote to amend the section of the 1999 Constitution that appears to leave the age of marriage open, the Senate prompted by former governor of Zamfara state Ahmed Sani Yerima, who married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl in 2010, passed a resolution to retain the section that allows for child marriage.
Final passage of the amendment awaits approval by the House of Representatives, Digital Journal reported.
Nigerians and human rights organizations have begun a campaign of protests in Abuja and Lagos. Protesters took to the streets and outside state Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly on Tuesday, calling on the Senate to reverse the vote.
The former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, tweeted: "We kid ourselves to think that we can catch up and compete with the rest of the world, when the #GirlChild is constrained. I got married at 24, after my first post-graduate. Some think 24 is early but then, I was ready to make sound decisions.”
A Nigerian actress Nonso Diobi said: “If she can’t vote, then she can’t marry. A female child should be taken to the classroom, not labor room.”
Nigerian reggae artiste Majek Fashek, said: "How can a man of 40, 50 or over marry a girl of 12, 13yrs? What kind of pedophilia is this?"
Femi Fani-Kayode: We have now become a nation of perverts and pedophiles
Nigeria's former Minister for Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, writing in the Vanguard, said:
... since the Senate, in its infinite wisdom, has now bought into and openly endorsed the "Pedophile Charter" which essentially makes it lawful and constitutional for very young girls to get married and to have sex at a very young age it is my firm view that we have now become a nation of perverts and pedophiles.
The Senate had a chance to clear the air and amend the law but, out of nothing but sentiment and an inexplicable eagerness to compromise with that which is clearly evil, they threw that chance away and sacrificed our most sacred values to Yerima and his gang.
Worst still they did it with a smile on their faces.
Every Nigerian should bow his or her head in shame because instead of crushing the head of the lustful beast that seeks to fornicate with our children, to steal their virtues and to destroy their future what the Senate did the other day was to compromise with and cater for the filthy appetites and godless fantasies of a bunch of child molesters and sexual predators.
It is sordid. It is ungodly. It is evil. And it is unforgivable.
In response to those who argue that child marriage in allowed under Islamic law, Fani-Kayode said:
...there is NO Muslim country in the world that has adopted the "pedophile charter" where 6 or 9 year olds can marry and be bedded except for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen.
Every other Muslim country in the world, including Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, the Sudan, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Qatar, Bahrain, Dagestan, Albania, Bosnia, Somalia, Algeria, Libya, Mali, Azerbejhan, Niger, Turkestan, Chechnya and Syria have specifically banned child marriage, pedophilia and child rape in their various constitutions and laws and some have declared it "repugnant”, ”unacceptable” and ”unIslamic”.
Are these people not Muslims too? As a matter of fact, are they not better Muslims than those that insist on sleeping with or marrying underage girls in the name of Islam?Yerima defends himself: "I will slap the demons out of your head"
According to the National Mirror Online, Yerima, speaking on Tuesday after he stopped the move to amend the section of the constitution the appears to allow child marriage, said:
Nigeria has many uncountable problems and none of them is early marriage. As a matter of fact early marriage is the solution to about half of our problems. For those who wonder if I can give my daughter(s) out in marriage at the age of 9 or 13, I tell you most honestly, I can give her out at the age of 6 if I want to and its not your business. This is because I am a Muslim and I follow the example of the best of mankind, Muhammad (PBUH). In Islam, marriage is not only about sex, it is about family and helping one another in achieving their goals, which is the attainment of Paradise. In Islam, a girl can be given out in marriage as early as 6 years old, but consummation of the marriage can only be done when the girl becomes physically mature and she gives her consent to it because unlike English law, it is not permissible for a man to rape his wife in Shari'ah Law. So what can anybody tell me? I live in a city where young girls at the age of 12 have already became serial fornicators and cannot count the number of man they've had sex with. I live in a City where primary school children disvirgin themselves behind toilets on Valentine day. I live in a city where young girls flood the street at night looking for men that would give them N500 to have sex with them. I live in a city where parents send their daughters out overseas to prostitute and send dollars down. I live in a City where Government officials pick undergraduates from University car parks with Coastal Buses to wild sex parties. I live in a city where abortion is so common that even a Chemist store owner can perform abortion with just N2,500. These are your daughters, and this should worry you and not Yerima's private matters. So ask me again why I support early marriage and I will slap the Jinn out of your head"
The Nigerian Punch published this list of almost exclusively Northern and Muslim Senators who voted in favor of what has been dubbed Nigeria's "Pedophilia Charter":
1. Sen. Abdulmumin M. Hassan (Jigawa South West, PDP)
2. Sen. Abdullahi Danladi (Jigawa North West, PDP)
3. Sen. Adamu Abdullahi (Nasarawa West, PDP)
4. Sen. Ahmed Barata (Adamawa South, PDP)
5. Sen. Akinyelure Ayo (Ondo Central, Labour Party)
6. Sen. Alkali Saidu A. (Gombe North, PDP)
7. Sen. Bagudu Abubakar A. (Kebbi Central, PDP)
8. Sen. Dahiru Umaru (Sokoto South, PDP)
9. Sen. Galaudu Isa (Kebbi North, PDP)
10. Sen. Garba Gamawa (Bauchi North, PDP)
11. Sen. Danjuma Goje Mohammed (Gombe Central, PDP)
12. Sen. Gobir Ibrahim (Sokoto East, PDP)
13. Sen. Gumba Adamu Ibrahim (Bauchi South, PDP)
14. Sen. Hadi Sirika (Katsina North, CPC)
15. Sen. Ibrahim Bukar Abba (Yobe East, ANPP)
16. Sen. Jajere Alkali (Yobe South, ANPP)
17. Sen. Jibrilla Mohammed (Adamawa North, PDP)
18. Sen. Kabiru Gaya (Kano South, ANPP)
19. Sen. Lafiagi Mohammed (Kwara North, PDP)
20. Sen. Lawan Ahmad (Yobe North, ANPP)
21. Sen. Maccido Mohammed (Sokoto North, PDP)
22. Sen. Musa Ibrahim (Niger North, CPC)
23. Sen. Ndume Mohammed Ali (Borno South, PDP)
24. Sen. Sadiq A. Yaradua (Katsina Central, CPC)
25. Sen. Saleh Mohammed (Kaduna Central, CPC)
26. Sen. Tukur Bello (Adamawa Central, PDP)
27. Sen. Ugbesia Odion (Edo Central, PDP)
28. Sen. Umar Abubakar (Taraba Central, PDP)
29. Sen. Usman Abdulaziz (Jigawa North East, PDP)
30. Sen. Ya’au Sahabi (Zamfara North, PDP)
31. Sen. Zannah Ahmed (Borno Central, PDP)
32. Sen. Ahmad Rufai Sani (Zamfara West, ANPP)
33. Sen. Ahmad Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central, PDP)
34. Sen. Bello Hayatu Gwano (Kano North, PDP)
35. Sen. Ibrahim Abu (Katsina South, CPC)