Resolution On Marriage Age For Women Contradicts National and International Law – Nigerian Feminists

The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) criticized a resolution of the Nigeria Senate to amend section 29(a) of the constitution that stipulates that a woman shall not be qualified for marriage until she is 18 years old. NFF argued that the decision to abolish age limitation for marriage contradicts a bunch of national and international laws, and urged the National Assembly to alter the resolution. This information is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday at the NFF website.

In their statement, NFF pointed out that the discussed amendment “will remove the age specification of women who can marry and would further deem a woman to be of “full age” once she is married, irrespective of the age she did so.”

According to NFF, this decision will be a “clear violation” of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child that prohibits child marriage and betrothal, and of Article 6(b) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa that stipulates that the minimum age of marriage for women is 18 years.

Furthermore, it will run counter to Section 21 of the Child’s Rights Act of Nigeria that prohibits the marriage of persons below 18 years and imposes a punishment of N500,000 or a 5 year jail term, or both; Article 18 (3) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the Conventions on the Rights of the Child and Article 27 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

The feminists called the National assembly to reconsider their decision. They also urged the African Commission to encourage the Government of Nigeria to fulfill their obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

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