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OPINION: Senate’s resolution on underage marriage unconstitutional –Jemibewon

A former Minister of Police Affairs, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon (retd.), has said that any resolution of the National Assembly that confers legality on the marriage of anybody who is under 18 years is unconstitutional.

 

He spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Friday on the controversial passage of a resolution to retain the provision of Section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that a married underage girl is deemed to be an adult.

 

Jemibewon said, “I do not have the full details. But in some papers, people have been condemning it.

 

“I am rather surprised that those who make laws should consider that as a priority; but I think if one cannot vote until one is 18, then to me, that should the age constitutionally right for a person to become responsible. So, any age below that, to me, runs contrary to the constitutional provision.

 

“If the lawmakers know what the constitution provides and make a decision that runs contrary to the constitution, then they have violated the constitution.”

 

Meanwhile, a group, The Concerned Citizens of Nigeria, has called on senators to apologise to Nigerians over the controversial resolution.

 

TCCN, in a statement made available to journalists in Ilorin on Friday, said such a resolution was against the health, education and social development and wellbeing of the girl child.

 

It called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to assent to such law.

 

It also called on the Senate to expend its energy and resources on issues that would advance the country by addressing the socio-economic, security and other developmental challenges of the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: The Punch

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