I would like to start by congratulating Alh Yerima. Sincerely from my heart of heart I do appreciate is sincerity and truthfulness at all time despite almost overwhelming contrary opinions. He stood firmly for Islamic laws in Zamfara state during his tenor as the governor, now his standing for another.
Now it is time to defend his marriage to a minor, he justified it and went further to seek a law that protects his action and also the future of the girl to which he is married and all other victims to be so betroth. But what is the issue here? The real issue is not whether Yerima is right or wrong, the hypocrisy of this society has been brought to the fore.
In most African culture there are reasons why a teenage girl could be given out in marriage Many times girl or teenager are married out for obvious reasons of economy, misconduct of the girl child herself and reasons of war and captivity. Therefore the problem of teenage marriage should be properly addressed by a critical study of underline causes instead of looking at the man who proposed legality to it as if he has committed an untold blunder. Even though Yerima’s case seems to have a religion undertone, our society is full of such cases.
I watched a program on one of our international TV stations week 16 august on Women of accomplishment and one of the heroes of this program was said to have been married at the age of fourteen. This hero is from the core eastern part of Nigeria. Very close to me, my step mother if you like, married my father at about the same age. These things are common place in our society and to some extent they are established reasons for it.
Let us consider this; a girl child become wayward or sexually promiscuous if you prefer it. The parents feel the danger in her sleeping about could lead to sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy, tarnish the family name and reputations, abortion and all it consequences etc. The option of marring her out could be a viable one. But to hypocrites, family planning is the better option. That way she can continue to live her wayward life and not get into all the afore mentioned.
As we react to this issue so we do to other issues of sex and sexuality. Many a time we want to determine promiscuity with dresses and appearance. We draw conclusions of morality from mere appearance. But if we are truthful in our reactions it wouldn’t have mattered, frankly we are not. The government support films and cinemas that portray a culture of nudity, on African magic you see Nollywood films purportedly depicting an Eastern Nigeria village where the only clothing for the girls are breast wrappers and Iborun (Yoruba word-small scarf) skirt to cover the bottom while the boys and men go about in mere wrapper. That is the culture?
On the street of Abuja the same government pursue the girls dressed in mini skirt and long / short blouse. In the “House of God” the Imam / Pastor forbids the woman who did not dress to their own set standard. May be he/she is even wearing jewelleries which is an “abomination” because it can become a god. But voici the pastor’s wrist watch is plated or made of gold, his ring is of the same material, his wife wearing a very expensive hat, costing hundreds of thousands Naira,…hallelujah!. The so called harlot’s attire is from KATANGUWA in Lagos where a blouse can be as cheap as N20. Why this stuff?
The thieves in government stole all the money that was meant for the education, health care , social amenities for the ‘Harlot’’, at least part of it to the church or mosque in pursuit of ‘God’ so the parents of this labelled harlots struggle to buy, I pass-my-neighbour for power, water from better neighbours, nearby omo Ibo medicine / provision no ventilation shop/bedroom for health care and also pay exorbitant school fees to arrange e school that teaches nothing but get all student passed by WAEC/ NECO or whoever. So where is the money for clothing? But what is the truth about these ‘harlots’ either rich or poor is the branding of the body parts to make them look what they are not or may be enhanced to get the attention of the willing on lookers.
In our normal community setting, do we not see this nudity? The village river where women wash , at home in our compounds, the breast feeding process in the market place, not to talk of the high population density areas such as Mushin, Ajegunle, Oshodi and all such places in our country. Well what is right, early marriage or no marriage at all.
When the Pentecostal churches stated the mass can verse for souls, one of the attractions to their fold was marriage, though they were not God no matter how much explanation and confusion they have on how and why God acted in a particular way. Now there are more unmarried; more than qualified singles in our mist than ever.
Hypocrisy is killing our society it is time to get off it and face the truth. Yerima has right to his presentation of a bill; it is the duty of his colleagues to vent it and remodel it to suit the society. Their failure shows their incompetence to do what we voted them to do. So… e le won sita ( vote them out when next they ask for your vote) It is time for us the modify our society to suit our different and common possess and stop been copy cat.