Child Marriage:Lawyers Drag AGF,National Assembly to Court



saniBy Danlami Nmodu

controversy surrounding child marriage affair appears to be snowballing into a legal tussle.“Following controversial Constitutional Review Session of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of Tuesday 16th July, 2013, on Section 29 (4) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the agitations and protests that raged against what many Nigerians considered as ‘’the Senate’s attempt to legalise child marriage in Nigeria’’, lawyers from the Public Interest Lawyers League have approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for interpretation of the said Section 29 (4) (b)” a statement by Abdul Mahmud ,president of PILL said today
In an Originating Summons (Nana Nwachukwu v Attorney General of Federation and National Assembly of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/539/2013 ) supported by 7-paragraphs ‘Grounds Upon Which The Reliefs Are Sought, 15-paragraphs affidavits in support sworn to by the Plaintiff and a 12-paged written address- filed by Messrs Abdul Mahmud, Kelvin Okoro and James Ude of the Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) on behalf of Ms Nana Nwachukwu, an Abuja- , women and child rights activist, Plaintiff seeks determination of following questions:
“Whether having regard to the provisions of Sections 29 (1) and 29 (4) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Constitution does not confer legality on a marriage contracted by any woman who is below the minimum legal age of marriage prescribed by Section 21 of the Child Rights Act, 2003.
“Whether Section 29(4) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) relates ONLY to renunciation of citizenship.
The Plaintiff is seeking following Declaratory Reliefs:
“A DECLARATION that Sections 29 (1) and 29 (4) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) do not confer legality on a marriage contracted by any woman who is below the minimum legal age of marriage prescribed by Section 21 of the Child Rights Act, 2003.
“A DECLARATION that Section 29 (4) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) relates ONLY to the renunciation of citizenship. ”
Senator Ahmed Sani,Yeriman Bakura came under heavy criticisms for pro-child marriage views in the senate.

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