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LEGIS-PROFILE: EXPOSED! Senator Yerima – A bigot with voracious appetite for under aged girls

LEGISREPORTS NG – Ahmed Rufai Sani Yerima was born on the 22 July, 1960,in Anka, Zamfara state.  He is a serving Senator and Deputy Minority Leader in Senate of the 7th National Assembly representing Zamfara West Senatorial district under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP).

Education

Upon completion of a matriculation course at the Sokoto College of Artsand Science in 1978, he was admitted to Bayero University, Kano, and graduated with a B.Sc in Economics in 1982. In 1987, his quest to earn ahigher educational qualification saw him returning to Bayero Universityand where he bagged a Masters Degree in Economics.As part of the National Youth Service he was posted to Borno State, where he worked in the Budget Department of the Governor’s office and also taught at the Borno College of Basic Studies, Maiduguri.In 1983 he began his career in the Sokoto state civil service as an economic planning officer in the Ministry of Finance. Between 1988 and1993 he worked with various Federal Government bodies, including theNational Directorate of Employment from 1988 to 1990, and the Central Bank of Nigeria between 1990 and 1993.Yerima, in 1994 returned to the Sokoto state civil service as the Director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance, a position he held  until October 1996 when Zamfara State was created. He was then appointed Director-General of Lands and Housing, later becoming Permanent Secretary in the same department.In September 1998, he left the civil service to follow a political career.

Ideology/Controversies

Before becoming elected in 2007 as a Senator, he was Governor of ZamfaraState, from May 1999 to May 2007.As a politician, he has been accused severally of playing the religious card to attract political popularity, support and sympathy for himself from those who share his Islamic beliefs, rather than pursue the rational path of reason and objectivity, both of which apparently seems like so much work.This has placed his religious views in the spotlight as “radical” and “extreme”, without the slightest accommodation for religious tolerancein his books.As a serving Governor of Zamfara state, Yerima was the first Nigerian Governor to implement Sharia law in his state, which came into effect on 27 January 2000.

Following the adoption of Sharia law in Zamfara, same ensured that apostasy was not criminalised and all sentences can be appealed to Nigeria’s Federal Courts, which of course do not permit traditional Hudud punishments in the first place.As expected, the introduction of Sharia was greeted with enthusiasm by the state’s Muslim majority, who became political support base for Yerima, as thousands of people gathered on the streets of Gusau cheered and shouted “God is great”.Unknown to the unsuspecting crowd, Sharia was only intended to be a political tool for campaign to garner support, and secure his political ambitions for as long as the quest to seek election into public office was concerned; as same had little or nothing to do with his unwaveringcommitment to Islam as the politician claims.

Though Yerima as Governor stressed his commitment to Nigeria as a multi-faith society, the Rights of non-Muslims in the state became drastically threatened owing to a show of hostility demonstrated by indigenous residents who felt they should be alienated owing to their religious affiliations which differed from Islam.

This unknown to many, was to be the beginning of the problems which hasbrought about the heightening tension and crisis in the north from acts of terrorism and insurgency which continually threatens the Christianpopulation.More worrisome is the Boko Haram scourge, an extension of Yerima’sradicalism, that has reared its head and made Christian worship houses and schools victims and targets of its persistent attacks that has claimed thousands of lives, all in a bid to Islamize the Nigerian state. The introduction of Sharia in Zamfara was challenged in the courts byHuri-Laws, a Nigerian human rights NGO, and by a Christian citizen fromthe state.

The Zamfara State High Court however dismissed both cases, ruling thatthe statute did not infringe upon the rights of either claimant.Among the many controversies Senator Ahmed Yerima has been involved ininclude his insatiable and voracious appetite for under-aged girls.Senator Yarima was accused of marrying an underage girl from Egypt and was investigated for having violated the country’s Child Rights Act of 2003.

The senator was reportedly said to have paid a dowry of N15,000,000 to the child’s parents.However, under Article 61 Second Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution,the Nigerian Government has no power to legislate on “marriages underIslamic law and Customary law including matrimonial causes relating thereto”, meaning that Senator Yarima had no legal case to answer andthe investigation was dropped.Reacting to the accusation leveled against him, Senator Ahmed Yerimamaintained that he has not violated sharia.He said: “History tells us that Prophet Muhammad did marry a young girlas well. Therefore I have not contravened any law.

This habit again he defended using the the religon of Islam.During the course of plenary, Senator Yerima who seldom attends sittings, is always into the habit of never making contributions on issues that seek to advance the cause of the nation.Instead, whenever child rights/protection issues gets raised, hesuddenly rises from a passive state and assumes the posture of an activist, prancing desperately around the chamber making frantic efforts to get his voice heard, and to sway his northern colleagues.

Only last week Tuesday, during the course of voting on a clause-by-clause basis of the senate committee’s report, what started out as an exercise driven by objectivity and reason assumed a religious dimension when Senator Yerima insisted at the top of his voice that the upper chamber revisit and subject clause 4 of section 29 to another round of voting. The clause, when first considered was passed, thereby specifying 18 years and above as “full age”, and deleting subsection (b) of the amended act that provided that “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.

“Yerima argued that the adoption of 18 years and above by the Senate to mean “full age” was anti-Islam.This caused Senators of northern extraction to vote against the committee’s recommendation on the protection of child rights. However, it needs to be pointed that the controversial clause 4 was not in anyway amended by the committee to interfere with the marriage practices of Islam, but sought to address the renunciation of citizenship.Section 29 which dealt with child rights and protection states that:”Any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigeriancitizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner ofrenunciation.”The basis for the controversy on child marriage however ensued due to the religious tone infused into the whole definition of what should be deemed “full age”.

Obviously sensing the tension being generated, the Senate President, David Mark, in his wisdom allowed for another round of voting.The outcome of votes showed northern senators making a turnaround due toAhmed’s religious interpretation of the clause.The results showed that 60 voted for 18 years and above as “full age”, while 35 voted against it; the 35 being of northern extraction.Despite the votes of 60 lawmakers to save the girl child from abuse in Nigeria, their votes fell short of the needed 73 for it to become law.The protection of child rights was therefore thwarted by the insufficient number of votes due to the deletion of the inserted clause to provide for same as contained in the committee’s recommendation to the senate.

The implication means that marriage to a minor is deemed legal in Nigeria, with no case of abuse attached to the act.In a bid to ensure that the outcome of investigations are straight on point and devoid of sentiments, LEGISREPORTS embarked on a fact finding mission to unravel the teachings of Islam on the question of marriage and how it concerns minors.In an interview with an Islamic cleric, Mohammad Ibn Mohammad, whoresides in the United States of America, he explained that: “An engagement may be arranged between families for their children, but Islamic requirements for a legal marriage include the requirement that both parties are able to give informed legal consent (ijab-o-qubul).

According to him, “marriage without the consent of the bride or performed under coercion is legal according to Islamic law, if the guardian of the bride is a wali mujbir.He further explained that this concept however has generated a lot of controversies because Hadith indicates that “even a virgin requires herpermission to be married off and fathers cannot force their daughtersinto wedlock(Al Bukhari:6455).Further researches showed that the example of the hadith narrated by Burayda Ibn Al Hasib where a woman wanted to know from the prophetMuhammad if the marriage forced upon her by her father to her cousin could be nullified or revoked.

The prophet replied in the affirmative (Yes). But the woman said she was happy with her marriage but only wanted for girls to know what a father can and cannot do to his daughter (Ibn Majah:1874;verified as Sahih by Al Buwaysiri).The answers provided above from LEGISREPORTS investigations and researches further provoked questions that bothered on what the Holy Quran deemed full age for consenting to marriage.

Can a 13 year old know anything about marriage or love to give her consent? Especially to one so old enough to be her grandfather?

The answer as any reasonable personwould know, is a bold NO!Evidence of this is afforded in the Islamic marriage contract whichdescribes “Mahr” as a mandatory gift given by the groom to the bride.Unlike a bride price, however, “Mahr” is given directly to the bride and not to her father. (Can we then say Yerima gave 15,000,000 to a 13 year old girl as bride price?). Obviously he wouldn’t, so perhaps the father collected it. If he did, Yerima (the giver of “Mahr) and the Father (the receiver) were engaged in an un-Islamic act to so do.The Islamic marriage contract further provides that although the gift (Mahr) is often money, it can be anything agreed upon by bride and groom such as a house or viable business that is put in her name and can be run and owned entirely by her if she chooses.This leads to another observation and question which further raises concern.
Can a 13 year old bride have the required intelligence to negotiate and agree with a 53 years old groom on anything, especially as to what she desires to guarantee security in marriage?

Again, a big No!It therefore can be said that Senator Yerima’s vanity and lustful cravings for under-aged girls is an indulgence that should be distanced from Islamic teachings.Obviously brutally hit and scarred by the torrents of criticism against his marriage to under-aged girls, he reacted in this manner.He said: “Nigeria has many uncountable problems and none of them is early marriage.  As a matter of fact, early marriage the solution to about half of our problems.

“For those who wonder if I can give my daughter(s) out in marriage at the age of 9 or 13, I tell you most honestly, I can give her out at the age of 6 if I want to and its not your business.  ”This is because I am a Muslim and I follow the example of the best ofmankind, Muhammad ?????? ??????? ???????? ????????? .  ”In Islam, marriage is not only about sex, it is about family and helping one another in achieving their goals, which is the attainment of Paradise.

“In Islam, a girl can be given out in marriage as early as 6 years old, but consummation of the marriage can only be done when the girl becomes physically mature and she gives her consent to it because unlike English law, it is not permissible for a man To Molest his wife in Shari’ah Law. ”So what can anybody tell me?  ”I live in a city where young girls at the age of 12 have already became serial fornicators and cannot count the number of man they’ve Were Intimate with.

“I live in a City where primary school children disvirgin themselves behind toilets on Valentine day.  ”I live in a city where young girls flood the street at night looking for men that would give them N500 to Be Intimate with them.  ”I live in a city where parents send their daughters out overseas to prostitute and send dollars down.

“I live in a City where Government officials pick undergraduates fromUniversity car parks with Coastal Buses to wild sex parties.  ”I live in a city where abortion is so common that even a Chemist shopowner can perform abortion with just N2,500.  ”These are your daughters, and this should worry you and not Yerima’sprivate matters. So ask me again why I support eewarly marriage and I willslap the Jinn out of your head”.

This profile was prepared by our reporter in Abuja.

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