Finally, FG set to launch campaign to end child marriage.

The Federal Government in Abuja on Monday announced plans to launch a campaign to end child marriage and other related harmful traditional practices in the country.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Alhassan said this during a media briefing.

Alhassan said the move was borne out of the resolution by African leaders to end child marriage during the 25th African Union Ordinary Session of Heads of State in June 2015.

She said the leaders also resolved to take practical steps in addressing the issues of child marriage and other harmful traditional practices.

“One of first practical steps is a vigorous campaign to end child marriage which will be launched tomorrow Nov. 29 at the Sheraton Hotel.

“Global communities and Nigeria in particular are increasingly recognising child marriage as a serious challenge, both as a violation of human rights and a hinderance to key developmental outcomes,’’ she said.

Alhassan said African countries were faced with the challenges of child marriage which robbed girls or children of their education, health and future.

She said according to UNICEF findings, 15 million children are married off every year globally with devastating consequences on their general wellbeing.

“This is very disturbing as it is further revealed that 15 out of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world are in Africa.

“Fifteen African countries have so far launched the campaign to end child marriage.

“The countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Niger, the Islamic Republic of Gambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Zambia, Chad, Burkina Faso , Mali and Madagascar,” Alhassan said.

She said a National Technical Working Group set up to end child marriage in the country was inaugurated on July 23, 2015 by the ministry.

Alhassan urged the media, development partners and other stakeholders to redouble their efforts in ensuring girl’s rights to freedom from child marriage and other forms of violence against children.

She also urged all stakeholders in the campaign, to be more proactive and come up with concrete actions to end child marriage in the country.

Ogundana Michael Rotimi: Ese Oruru, Yinusa Dahiru And The Tragedy Of A Divided Nation.

We may not have been together if not for the 1914 amalgamation. But since the artificial wedding took place over a century ago, it is quite surprising how and why we remain divided in the face of various integration plans and programs to keep us united.

Few weeks ago when the Ese Oruru saga broke out, it again showed to the world how divided a nation amalgamated over a hundred years ago is. The Ese Oruru saga, prove once again that we have only been struggling to live in harmony with one another and always looking for the slightest opportunity to go against each other.

Worse as our division is, we are not only divided along regional or ethnical line, but we are so divided along numerous lines and that only calls for concerns for a nation dreaming of development and prosperity. One wonders how we have managed to stay together as a nation in the midst of these divisions all these years.

The Ese Oruru saga was a crime committed by one man, but instead for the culprits to be condemned and cautioned, the criticism and blame came on his region, his religion and his people. A fallacy that was borne out of bigotry and hate.

While a few people directly condemned the criminal act committed by one Mr. Yinusa Dahiru, who is alleged to have abducted Ese, forcefully converted her to Islam, possibly hypnotized her and assaulted her sexually, a huge number of people took advantage of Mr. Yinusa`s action and descended mercilessly on his region and religion. Hence, the northern region came under attack alongside the Islamic religion.

It is my belief that no religion supports violence. People are violent but hide under the guise of one form of religion, region or the others to justify their criminality. But a nation divided along these lines will not consider it that way. It will rather take advantage of the act and attack the whole region or religion involved.

A country that is so desirous of making any form of progress in this tough and competiveness world cannot stay divided and expect any form of progress. The point is; a divided nation will continue to grasp for development and prosperity in the face of abundant opportunities.

We cannot as a nation hope to achieve the founding dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers while we stay divided. Not possible! If we must achieve greatness, we can only achieve it together.

Change comes with numerous responsibility- one of which is to be united. No divided nation has attained that which they wish and dream of.

Either child marriage, abduction, baby factories, rituals, vandalism and the likes, a crime is a crime- we must stay united to condemn it outrightly without tagging any region or religion.

There is no justification for doing the wrong thing and perpetrating evil. Evil is evil. It has no other name but evil. People choose to do evil and sort for justification for it. Those who do evil should be seen as evil and not their religion or region.

Men will always want to justify is criminality, but it does not make evil less evil. Don`t conform to that! If evil is perpetrated by someone in the North/South/Middle-Belt by Christian/Muslim/Pagan, condemn it. Evil has no religion or region!

You can not condemn the whole north or a particular religion because of Ese saga and other related crimes. Likewise can you not condemn the whole south or a particular religion for baby factories, vandalism, and other related evils.

When you condemn a crime, do not do it with an intention to sway a religion/region- that also is evil. Just condemn it outrightly!

If one from or not from your religion or region derives pleasure in crime, condemn it. Not his/her religion or region.  If we unanimously condemn evil irrespective of who is involved and not tag it, in no time far from now, we would have a saner society. But if those in the North/South/Middle-Belt, Christian/Muslim/Pagan keep defending the evil perpetrated by one of their own, we would continue to live in a society where evil works and reigns. At the end, when evil reigns, the people suffer!

Division will take us nowhere. Saner countries in the world do find a common ground that keeps them united in spite of their difference.  Nigeria can do the same.

Divided we are vulnerable but united we are unstoppable!

God Bless Nigeria.

Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny.

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

Father of Kano Child Bride Appeals to Court to Spare Daughter’s Death Sentence


The father of a 14-year-old child bride accused of murdering her husband said Thursday he was appealing to a Nigerian court to spare his daughter the death sentence.

Wasilat Tasi’u is on trial for the murder of her 35-year-old husband, Umar Sani, who died after eating food that Tasi’u allegedly laced with rat poison.

“We are appealing to the judge to consider Wasilat’s plea,” her father, Isyaku Tasi’u, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

On Wednesday witnesses told the High Court in Gezawa, a town 60 miles outside Nigeria’s second largest city of Kano, that Tasi’u killed her husband two weeks after their wedding in April. Three others allegedly died after eating the poisoned meal.

The prosecution, led by Lamido Soron-Dinki, senior state council from the Kano State Ministry of Justice, is seeking the death penalty.

The case calls into question the legality of trying a 14-year-old for murder under criminal law and the rights of child brides, who are common in the poverty-stricken, predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria region.

“She was married to a man that she didn’t love. She protested but her parents forced her to marry him,” Zubeida Nagee, a women’s rights activist in Kano, told AP. Nagee and other activists have written a letter of protest to the Kano state deputy governor.

Nagee said Tasi’u was a victim of systematic abuse endured by millions of girls in the region. Activists say the blend of traditional customs, Islamic law and Nigeria’s constitutional law poses a challenge when advocating for the rights of young girls in Nigeria.

Justice Mohammed Yahaya adjourned the court until December 22. Tasi’u is in state juvenile custody.

Credit: Yahoo News