The issue of child marriage in Nigeria has been reignited by Nigeria’s Senate, led by Senator Yerima, bid to re-approve a clause in the Constitution that many fear will allow child marriage in Nigeria.
“We are going inside the UNILAG mosque to ask the Imam and Muslim scholars how they feel about this controversial issue – child marriage,” explains Adeola, BattaBox presenter.
A proposed constitutional amendment defined the age at which Nigerians can renounce their citizenship at 18 – but a majority of Senators, led by Yerima, voted down the amendment stating it is against Islamic law.
BattaBox heads to the mosque in UNILAG, Lagos to ask students what they feel about the issue of marriage to young children:
“I have no doubts, no negative things to say to it – if she is ready and I can observe that she is ready – I will give her hand out,” says one man.
When asked if Islam permits a female child as young as nine to be married, another man says – “Yes, it permits it.”
None of the students disagreed with the proposal that girls around the age of nine years old can marry an older man.
There are many reasons for this – firstly, that the prophet Mohammed himself took a much younger wife. But also, the students argue, that the institution of marriage helps uphold a moral and strong society.
But everyone agrees, the girl must agree and the family must also agree to the marriage – it cannot be done by force.
“When we say maturity – we mean from the biological perspective… once a woman has seen some adult signs like menstrual cycle, the breasts, and things like that – she is matured. Age is not a barrier.”
Child marriage is still banned under Nigerian law but according to UNICEF 39% of Nigerian girls marry under the age of 18 in Nigeria.
What do you think – at what age can someone marry?