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Fmr Gov Yerima Stands in Defense of Child Marriage, Arguing that the Nigerian Constitution Does Not Prohibit It

Former Zamfara Governor, Sani Yerima, has said marriage is not a barrier to education for underage girls, adding that the girl he married at the age of 14 is currently having her Master’s degree.

Yerima who married a teenager in 2010, disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Friday, stressing that the Nigerian constitution is not against it.

“Marriage does not stop anyone from getting educated,” the ex-governor said when told that marrying underage girls contravenes their rights to education.

He added, “That is if you don’t allow them to continue with their education.”

Asked whether the girl he married in 2010 has furthered her education, Yerima stated “Yes, she is doing her Masters Degree now.”

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“I told you my daughter, who was married at 16, is doing her PhD now. Sixteen or 14 are the same thing,” said Yerima.

Yerima disclosed that the Child Rights Act is a law smuggled through the National Assembly but has not been domesticated by any states in Northern Nigeria.

“Whatever law is passed by the National Assembly, it has to be domesticated by the State assemblies. Once they have not done that, it is no longer a law.

“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to smuggle the Child Right Act and passed it at the National Assembly through some manipulations, but I don’t think any state in the North domesticated and passed it as law. And once they have not done that, it’s no longer a law.

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“If I had done anything wrong, I would have been tried in court. NAPTIP wanted to try the case, and they dropped the matter because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he added.

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