NASS Advice INEC On Voting Eligibility Of Underage Married Girls
The National Assembly Joint Committee on the Independent National Electoral (INEC) Commission Matters has suggested a review of the provision in the Electoral Act.
The current provision fixes the eligibility age of voters at 18.
The lawmakers have particularly proposed that INEC should consider married girls who are not up to the stipulated age of voting.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, and fellow member in the House of Representatives, Aisha Dukku, on Wednesday, put the proposal forward before the Technical Committee on Electoral Reform.
The National Assembly technical panel to work on the newly proposed Electoral Act consists of lawmakers, INEC officials and civil society groups dealing with election matters.
At the opening session which had in attendance, the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Gaya and Dukku explained that the proposal was the collective decision of the joint committee of the National Assembly.
“The joint committee has proposed a review of the section of the Electoral Act that pegged the eligibility age of voters at 18 years.
“The joint committee has proposed that if a lady who is not up to 18 years is married, she should be considered to be mature enough and be eligible to vote,” Gaya said.
The INEC Chairman, stated that, even though the proposal had not reached INEC, he doubted the success of the proposal due to the country’s constitutional age for marriage, which is 18 years.
The response caused an uproar as Dukku, blasted the INEC boss for dismissing the proposal immediately.
She pointed out that the joint panel had adopted it.
“It was one of the submissions on the day of the public hearing in the last Assembly that a married lady or a girl who is not up to 18 years should be considered as an eligible voter.
“It is already in the Electoral Act amendments submitted in the last Assembly; so it cannot be thrown away just like that.
“We should look at it and come up with something instead of throwing it away. It is not from us but from the stakeholders on the day of the public hearing held in the 8th Assembly,” Duku said.