National assembly – enemy of the girl child, says group

Make A Difference (MAD) Initiative and Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF) have described members of the 9th National Assembly as “shameless and unconscionable” enemies of the girl child for seeking to amend the Electoral Act to confer voting rights on underage married girls in breach of the 1999 constitution as amended.

On behalf of the Joint Committee of the Federal Legislature on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sen. Kabiru Gaya and Hon. Aisha Dukku, proposed that a girl who is not up to 18 years but married be considered mature enough to vote.

Gaya reportedly said, “The joint committee has proposed a review of the section of the Electoral Act that pegged the eligibility age of voters at 18 years.

“The joint committee has proposed that if a lady who is not up to 18 years is married, she should be considered to be mature enough and be eligible to vote.”

But this proposal has drawn the ire of MAD and MARF, who described it as a self-serving, absurd and unconscionable attempt to satisfy paedophiles and enablers of paedohilia within the National Assembly and beyond.

In their statement signed by the Executive Director of Make A Difference Initiative of MAD, Lemmy Ughegbe and the Director of Strategy of Men Against Rape, Mr. Augustine Eigbe, they noted thus:

“We have been working to bring an end to the epidemic of the girl child marriage which has led to devastating health consequences such as Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF). Unfortunately, instead of the National Assembly passing laws to put an end to this epidemic, these backward thinking and self serving lawmakers are taking steps to entrench the evil practice even further”.

“Allowing a girl child who was married off as a child without her consent to vote? Is that what the lawmakers consider as Electoral Reform? This is shameful. in whose interest is that proposal? Certainly not the girl child who was bullied and made a victim of sexual violence in the name of marriage”, they stated.

“The Electoral Act needs urgent reform to address important issues not a self serving issue like conferring powers to the a child bride, powers she would not even dare exercise contrary to her pedophile husband’s instruction”, they added.

“We call on the civil society and people of good will to come out and condemn this proposed amendment to the Electoral Act and urge the lawmakers to retrace their steps from the path of infamy to that of nobility”, they stated.

“The sure way for the lawmakers to move from infamy to nobility is by them taking care of the law to back Electronic Voting, Voting outside the registration area, Diaspora Voting and the use of Card Readers.