Nigerians are divided over a call by the National Assembly on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider registering underage married girls as voters.
To that effect, the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC has proposed a review of the Electoral Act to scrap 18 years as the minimum voting age.
The proposal was tabled before the Technical Committee on Electoral Reform on Wednesday by Senate INEC Committee Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya and his House counterpart, Aisha Dukku, Sunday Punch reported.
“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,” Senator Gaya said.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was at the inaugural session of the technical committee which comprises lawmakers, INEC officials, and civil society groups dealing with election matters.
Reacting to Gaya and Dukku’s assertion that the proposal was unanimously adopted by the Joint Committee, Yakubu said he was doubtful that it could fly because the constitution specifically stated 18 as the minimum voting age.
However, the proposal has divided Nigerians on Twitter.
@ayemojubar tweeted: “National Assembly is promoting underage marriage.
“I repeat @nassnigeria is promoting underage marriage.
“National Assembly seeking to legalize votes by underage married girls would create a path for underage boys to claim age above 18 and false marital status. This sounds like a subtly package to legalize underage voting in the North knowing fully these people have the resources.”
@ADoseofStella wrote: “These niggas really opened mouth to say “underaged married girls” like they shouldn’t be arresting their husbands for marrying a child?!”
@DrMuzoic wrote: “@nassnigeria so you guys are supporting paedophiles and underage marriages? See the people making laws for us.”
@Chief_StGabriel wrote: “The normalization of pedophilia by the northern elites is scary, kids that are not old enough to decide what to eat are being asked to have sex with men.”
Fahad Ibrahim Danladi wrote: “Unfortunately, even in the so-called civilized society, sex with underage is only problematic when it is done under wedlock. It is common for a girl under 18 to have sex outside marriage where you come from. Your problem is with marriage not sex.”