14 December 2012

Nigeria: Zamfara Emirs Plan Bill Against Early Marriage

Photo: http://www.vanguardngr.com

Barring any last minute change of plan, the Zamfara State council of chiefs would soon sponsor a bill against early marriage in the state, Emir of Anka, HRH Attahiru Muhammad Ahmad has said.

Emir Ahmad, who disclosed this at an advocacy meeting and campaign organised by an international non-governmental organization, Save the Children International (SCI), said the bill would guard against the practice of forcing girls into early marriage in the state, which, he blamed for the prevalent cases of Vesico Virginal Fistula (VVF).

"This bill is necessary because all the issues of VVF are caused by early marriage," he said, just as he explained that the law, if enacted, would save children.

"In fact, I personally stopped the wedding of an underage girl in my emirate, as I threatened to order for the arrest of any Imam who dared contract the marriage," he said. "The girl is now with me and will not be married until she is 15."

The emir who frowned at allegations of injustice by some married men against their wives also said that the emirate "will also borrow from countries where before you marry a second wife, you must fulfil certain conditions."

Although the emir could not state when the planned bill will be presented to the state assembly for deliberations and possible passage into law, he expressed optimism that the bill will assist in making life more meaningful for the girl-child.

"We will also involve Imams to ensure that couples are tested before they get married so as to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDs," he said.

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