‘I will never support child marriage’ – Senator Ahmed Makarfi

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Former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi has said that the issue of child marriage would not even cross his mind, not to talk of contemplating  going  into it as a suitor to an underage girl.

Senator Makarfi, who is representing Kaduna North senatorial zone of the state, told some Journalists in an interview in his Kaduna residence at the weekend that a girl who married at 13 would not be able to give birth, pointing out that what the Senate wanted to do was to ensure parity and equality for boys and girls relating to the age of marriage.

He, however, noted that child marriage issue was messed up by different proponents  of the matter, stressing that if a girl is married at 13 and she could renounce her citizenship, a boy cannot until he reaches 18, an indication that there is no parity and equality between a girl and a boy.

“I am not for underage marriage, I will never support it, I will never engage in it, I will never encourage it, but for God’s sake, lets talk based on facts.

“It is unfortunate, it is very unfortunate that it got messed up in a way. The legislation for the amendment that the Senate wanted to do was to bring parity and equality in terms of renunciation of citizenship.

“If a girl is married at 13 and she can renounce her citizenship, but a boy cannot until he reaches 18, is there parity, is there equality, which is the whole issue, and can a girl, even if she marries at 13 give birth? She cannot, so why are we not saying that it is not electoral act, so it is a driving licence even if she marries at a lower age. But the electoral act does not stop Islamic marriage anyway. Then if the driving licence law regulation does not stop Islamic marriage, but it stipulates that before you do certain thing you have to be at a particular age.

“So, both sides, for me, are guilty of mixing up all issues. All those who are looking at it from religious angle and those who are looking at it from human rights or child marriage have nothing to do with at which age a girl gets married. And when we confused issues, we end up not making progress.

“You asked how I voted;  the first vote, I voted for deletion, but when the entire issue became confused, I was one of those who abstained from voting because if I was to vote I know where my conscience will take me, but when you confused the entire thing  all, I withdrew my ascent to vote. Again even if it comes to age of   18, marriage or consent, there is a difference in age of consent between France and UK, two years different.

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