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Nigeria: which law will prevail on child marriage?

Sunday 30 May 2010, by siawi2

The debate around the alledged marriage of Nigerian Senator Yerima with an Egyptian child bride brings to the front the contradictions between laws that are democratically voted in a country, religious laws and international laws and conventions. The mere fact that it can even be debated points at the weakness of the law making democratic process faced with powerful religious forces.

Nigerian Senator to be heard by Ethics Committee

Source: Nigerian Feminist Forum, May 21, 2010 - (Quotations)

The Senate will on Wednesday May 26, next week begin an investigation into the alleged marriage of a Senator, Sani Yerima of the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP-Zamfara) to a 13-year-old Egyptian girl.

*The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Omar Hambagda, disclosed this yesterday saying that the committee had received petitions from three serving female senators over the issue. “We are sitting on this matter on Wednesday next week..... We will have to talk to the petitioners. They have to tell us the basis of their complaints. We want to know in what capacity they are complaining.”

“We also need to speak to Yerima, who is a Muslim.” “This country has recognised Sharia Legal System since independence and even before independence.” “We have Sharia courts up to the Court of Appeal”. *

*"We want to know whether this action is covered by Islamic personal law, which is recognised by the constitution of this country and whether his actions comply with Islamic Law,’’ he added. *

*Mr Hambagda said that the committee would submit its report to the Senate after the investigation, adding that whoever had an interest on the issue was also free to testify before the committee. On the delay in starting the investigation, the chairman said that the committee had been busy with other reports which would soon be submitted to the Senate.