Legalizing Underage Marriage: My Nation’s Latest Abomination

I have never been one to write about Nigerian politics and the very sordid state of affairs of my dear country’s ‘leadership’. I have practiced ‘denial’ for so long. It’s not that I have dug my head in the sand like the ostrich when faced with attackers and believed that nothing was actually going wrong. No, on the contrary, I have always felt that there was very little I could do to affect the current shambles of a system and have rather focused on writing about other things which wouldn’t hurt my head as badly.

Today however, I will be writing about an act so preposterous, so perverted, so downright immoral that it is a mystery that anyone with an ounce of education or morality would ever consider it, talk more of seriously attempting to turn it into law. I’ve never been one to get too emotional and would rather prefer to analyze things from a completely logical standpoint. On this issue though, both the logical and emotional side of my brain are aggressively screaming NO!!! A very big, infuriated NOOOO!!!!

Legalizing underage marriage is a very big NOOOO! as far as I’m concerned. I could add more Oos to the ‘NO’ if I knew it would help but in this absurdity of a nation, the rulers elected to represent us seem to not only be uneducated but to be so grossly out of touch with their nation and the wishes of the people who ‘elected’ them into their offices.

Our nation is riddled with countless problems. From the massive elephants in the room which happen to be corruption and insecurity to the other less noticeable but equally debilitating cankerworms which exist in the form of the abysmal state of education and subsequent unemployment. Nigeria has way too many more significant problems to consider and to put right. If issues worth deliberating in Nigeria were arranged in a list according to importance and subsequently deliberated giving a day to each topic, legalizing underage marriage should not even near the discussion table even after a million years. Apart from the fact that it stinks of shocking immorality and downright perversion, it is not in any way worth the time and salary we afford our ‘representatives’ considering all the nation’s bigger challenges. Imagine an individual under attack from African Killer bees, a man-eating lion, and numerous other diseases deciding that rather than saving his neck, he would instead, clip his toenails so as to look neat!!!! That man is even wiser as in a way, cutting toenails is actually helpful, legalizing underage marriage is not.

Now, onto the primary bane of the situation, it is wrong on all levels for a forty-year old man to be attracted to a ten year old girl. It is ludicrous that this same forty year old individual is not ashamed of this fact or at least willing to keep it a secret. It is totally insane that this individual as well as others who share his twisted mentality are actually willing to attempt to turn this into law because due to massive corruption, they find themselves in a position to do this. It is perverted, it is immoral, it is scandalous, it is unimaginably nauseating. . . I could go on and on and never run out of negative adjectives to qualify this debacle.  I look at the eight year old daughter of my neighbour who is playing with her Barbie dolls downstairs oblivious of life’s troubles. Then I imagine the predatory, pervert of a senator being sexually attracted to that innocent little girl  and willing to say with a straight face that ‘she has come of age immediately she is married’. If they subscribe to this school of thought, then in a similar vein, they should also vote to allow bestiality and every other whim of the next pervert to reign free and become a law.

The whole fiasco becomes even more bizarre when it’s shameless proponents try to argue that a certain religion allows it. Oh Yes! Every religious rule should become a law because ‘we have freedom of religion’. Just because tenet X of some random individual’s religion says he is free to steal from the rich means it should be legal for him to rob the highways as he pleases in order to exercise his freedom of religion, right?! No, you say?!  Why is that?! Oh, that’s different? Of course it’s not, you hypocrite, the two opinions are as ridiculous as each other.

I honestly grow weary of trying to analyze why this shouldn’t even be an issue that this nation should mention, talk more of seriously consider. The rest of the world is shaking it’s combined head in a mix of worry, amazement and downright disgust that a nation with numerous other more germane challenges are committing their severely limited time to considering an issue that should provoke even the most morally detached of individuals to wince in disappointment. I shudder to think that up to thirty!!! ‘educated representatives’ of the various constituencies of our nation are willing to actually support this bill. I am not an avid student of government and it’s working procedures but I believe that eventually, only the president can veto this bill and pass it into law. So if through whatever nefarious means, these thugs and perverts disguised as our ‘representatives’ eventually get their will and this bill gets into the hands of Mr. President, I expect him to do what every rational human being and the rest of the World expects from him. I expect him to rip it up and tell them to go f**k themselves. . . with a scowl of unabashed disgust on his face. As many have said ‘if she can’t vote, she can’t marry’ – Simple and Short.

By I.V Okata . . . I really love my country

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

UPDATE-20/07/2013: It has been brought to our attention that the actual law being deliberated at the time has little or nothing to do with the actual legal age of marriage and more to do with the ability of an individual to change his/her citizenship. Nevertheless, strict laws are not yet in place to prevent marriage of underage girls through religious or customary laws as the constitution provides an exception for this. Therefore, while the mass furore might not exactly have been properly directed, this is an opportunity for Nigerians to rise up and pressure our ‘representatives’ into setting an acceptable legal age for marriage which doesn’t provide a loophole for marriage under religious/customary laws. Thank you for understanding.


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