Will Nigeria ever criminalise child marriage?

CHILD marriage is one of major global concern as we see more activists and civil societies rise to demand social and legal protection for the girl child, which is ubiquitous across the Arabs, as well as other secular ones like Nigeria.

Yet, what we see, in spite of these advocacies is an increase in the number of school-age children (especially girls) forced into marriages with impunity.

I was inspired to write on this menace when reading a features article on an online news platform. The article contains a list of Nigerian women who confessed to have killed their husbands and were subsequently charged with murder.

While going through this list, the spirit of anti-feminism got the better of me, and I wondered when masculinism will be so pronounced that we would disturb the world with cries that men are also suffering in marriages.

But this feeling was soon displaced by that of empathy when I saw the picture of Wasilat Tasi’u, the 14-year-old girl from Kano, who reportedly confessed in 2014 to have killed her 34-year-old husband, Umar Sani with rat poison.

She did this in an attempt to emancipate herself from the forced union. I revisited my prayer for justice for the men gruesomely killed by their wives and I wondered if Wasilat deserved to be hanged for her sin – that is what justice, in technical terms would have meant.

However, activists and civil societiey organisations took up the fight on her behalf and Wasilat was discharged while an NGO offered to take care of her.

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