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Nigerians oppose attempts to give underage married girls voting rights

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CIVIL society organisations and other Nigerians have condemned the proposal by some members of the House of Representatives to push for voting rights for underage married girls.

In a statement by 13 Nigerians of diverse groups, the activists described the move as unconstitutional and called for the domestication and implementation of the Child Rights Act by states that have not done so.

Their statement reads: “We, the under-signed Nigerians and civil society groups, have read with utter dismay the unfortunate proposal by certain members of the House Committee on Electoral Act, the amendments to push for voting rights for underage married girls.

“To give the vote to underage girls purely as a result of marriage under the globally accepted age of 18, other than being itself undesirable, is highly discriminatory and for that reason unconstitutional. “

“Our laws are meant to be rational and based on reason and logic. The proposers of this provision have entirely failed to show any reason for this proposal.”

The statement was signed by the Director of Women’s Leadership Group Nigeria, Dr. Nkechi Eke Nwankwo; Prof. Ngozi Osarenren of the University of Lagos (UNILAG); WISCAR Founder/Chairperson Amina Oyagbola; President of Women in Africa Initiative, Hafsat Abiola-Costello; a gender advocate, Ladi Daniella Aku; Executive Director of Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy in Nigeria, Asmau Benzies Leo; Gender-Based Violence Expert, Mary Isong; National Coordinator, 100 Women Lobby Group, Felicia Onibon; General Secretary of South South Professional Women Association, Mirabel Edozie; Prof. John O. Aiyedogbon, of Bingham University, Karu; gender advocate Ifeoma Okafor; Managing Editor of PowerHouse Manuscript Managers, Cordelia Onu; and Rasheed Rahman, of Fernside and Associates.

Evelyn Osagie

Source – The Nation

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