The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has shared his thoughts about child marriage.
The issue of child marriage was again brought to the public when the Katsina Emirate Council declared a marriage between a 14-year-old girl, Habiba Isa, and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Usman, irreversible.
Isa who clocks 15 on Saturday, October 15, was allegedly abducted on August 16, 2016, by one Jamilu Lawal, a reported aide of the emir. She later converted to Islam, which the council said was voluntarily.
This sparked outrage as her father lodged a complaint with a humanitarian civil rights organisation, Stefanos Foundation.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) eventually had to intervene as she was later allowed to appear before CAN officials and others in the palace on Thursday, where she was interrogated on the issue by the Kaora Katsina, Alhaji Nuhu Abdulkadir, on behalf of the emirate council.
She was asked whether she was forcefully converted to Islam – she replied no.
She was also asked whether the emirate council or any other person forced her into the marriage with the emir – she also answered no.
The third question was whether by the time she met her husband, she was already experiencing menstrual period – she answered yes.
However CAN was not in support of the marriage and her conversion to Islam.
An official said, ”This girl (Isa) standing before us is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school and not given out in marriage.”
Emir Sanusi on the whole saga said via his Instagram page:
“Women are suffering from reproductive health challenges were products of such marriages. Time had come when the Muslim community should live by the reality of economic recession and consequences of early marriage. The era when people gave out their daughters in marriage at early ages and asked the husbands to wait till they were ripe was nothing but a deception. According to me, strategy no longer worked as it had led to cases of divorce and other ugly situations. In the past the rich and the poor married four wives and bore between 30 and 40children because the economy was not only buoyant but also because people were not relying on government for sustenance. Though the harsh economic realities now make it impossible for people to feed twice a day these days, “Unfortunately our people do not change and somebody with virtually nothing still give birth to 20or 30 children and this must stop”. There was a need to peg the marriage age now because of the challenges early marriage was posing. The marriage age in Egypt at present was 18 while that of Malaysia and Morocco were 19 and 17 respectively, asking “Why not we here urgently call for pegging of marriage ages within Muslim Ummah in Nigeria?” Nigerian Muslims also practice the Malikiyas School of thought as these countries, “We should follow suit and peg our own marriage ages for our own good”. I urge the relevant authorities to create a law that would punish anybody that gave birth to children and allowed them to suffer. Most of those neglected children not only turned victims of social vices but also engage in terrorism.”