Women lawyers in Nigeria under the aegis of International Federation of Women Lawyers, have expressed dissatisfaction with the resolution passed by the Senate to retain the provision of section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.
Under the section, a married underage girl is deemed to be an adult.
But FIDA in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by its National President, Hauwa Shekarau and National Secretary, Chigoziri Ojiaka, said the constitutional provision contravened “the general views of Nigerians as expressed during the recent constituency consultations conducted as part of the ongoing constitution review process.”
According to FIDA, allowing section 29 (4) (b) to remain in the nation’s constitution amounts to “a clear negation of Nigeria’s commitment to different international and regional treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which all prohibit child marriages.”
The statement said, “FIDA Nigeria reiterates that the generality of Nigerians have spoken during the constituency consultations that section 29 (4) (b) does not deserve to be in the constitution and therefore should be deleted.
“It, therefore, behoves the Senate to grant Nigerians their desired wish, rather than allow itself to be deterred by the views of an individual borne out of purely selfish considerations. It is generally accepted that the voice of the people is the voice of God.
“We therefore call on the Senate to hearken to the voice of the people by reviewing and reconsidering the resolution and by so doing, etch their names in gold and history.”
FIDA also called on the House of Representatives to rise to the occasion and stand with the generality of Nigerians by ensuring that the voice of the people was heard and upheld.
FIDA has an observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Right.
The group also works to promote and protect the rights of women, children and the less-privileged in the society.