Marriage for the Girl-Child: Can Menstruation Be A Yardstick for Eligibility?


I have always believed since before I can remember that a female should have a say in determining who becomes her husband. To have a say simply means being able to choose or determine who her husband will be: and to choose implies that one must know what one wants; but the question is – Can a girl child know what she desires in a man?

Child Marriage Deprives the Female Folk of Their God-Given Prerogative to Accept or Reject Marriage Proposals

If we maintain that because a girl has commenced menstruation she is eligible for marriage, how do we justify the cases of 9-year olds who have begun menstruation? Are they also eligible for marriage? At that age, can she take care of herself let alone make a home?

Talking about the man, it is assumed that a man who is eligible for marriage already knows what he wants in a woman; and so he approaches the woman he adjudges to possess such qualities. It is now left for the female to accept or reject him.

That power of accepting or rejecting advances from men is a God given prerogative to the woman. It is one of the numerous powers women possess. The girl child will be deprived of this God given prerogative as husbands will be imposed on her at an age where she can barely clean her anus properly after defecating.

So it comes short of a sin this child marriage thing.

How About Boy-Child Marriage, Provided He Can Ejaculate, – to maintain a gender balance?

My immediate reaction to the furor is – How ridiculous! Why should we be debating something so obvious?

I’m almost certain that very soon the senate may debate the rights of a boy child to marry, provided he can ejaculate – to maintain the gender balance.

Some days back, I chanced upon an interview of Sen. Sani Yerima, the personality at the centre of the furor, where he maintained in his characteristic absurdness that a female is eligible for marriage once she has started menstruation, amidst other things.

He said the issue debated on the floor of the senate is about renunciation of citizenship – that the constitution says one can decide to either continue to be a Nigerian once one has attained the age of 18 years and above or else choose to be the citizen of any other country of his choice. Once married however one is adjudged to be of full age, your biological age notwithstanding.

This last is the root of the controversy – how, for instance, can anybody (in his right senses) maintain that a married girl child has attained full age and can decide on issues of nationality?

Based on the above, some senators now canvassed for the removal of that clause from the constitution. This is where Sen. Sani Yerima came in and stated that the removal of the clause from the constitution is an infringement on Islamic law.

Is Nigeria an Islamic State? Are Under 18’s Mentally Matured to Make Informed Choices on Issues of Religion or Nationality?

I have some questions for our distinguished senator because asking the right questions is sometimes the answer.

One –Is Nigeria an Islamic state? If not, which should take precedence – Islamic laws or the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria?

Two – How many of your daughters have you given out in marriage at less than 18 years of age just because she has started menstruation?

Three – what is the volition that drives your utterances cum actions? Is it true love of Allah or just a whim for rabble rousing?

I doubt if anyone will disagree with me if I say Nigeria is not an Islamic state; and as such is not subject to Islamic laws or considerations.

And even if Islamic laws are applied only to the Muslims; it is right so far as those concerned have voluntarily chosen to be Muslims. But the same cannot be said of individuals below 18years of age who are Muslims by birth or, better said, Muslims by background simply because at that age, they are not yet mentally matured to make informed choices on issues of religion.

Child Marriage Is a Forced Marriage – Nothing Short Of Wickedness

A girl child who happens to be a Muslim by birth is a victim of background until she has attained the age when she can voluntarily choose either to tow the line of her background or change her religion. To subject such a child to a permanent life changing predicament like forced marriage (child marriage is a forced marriage) is nothing short of wickedness.

Perhaps we are making a mistake here. Child marriage has nothing to do with religion – no religion permits child marriage if correctly understood. Rather, it is more of a human rights thing.

Life is basically motion – the circumstances, lifestyle, mentality, human nature at the time when the misinterpretations of these Islamic laws were conceived is very different from what obtains now. This implies that we have new situations that demands new interventions. To maintain that things must be done the way they were done many centuries ago is to be rigid; and rigidity negates the basic principle of life which is motion.

Everything that is truly alive is in a state of constant motion. The rules that your headmaster gave you in primary school, were they still relevant in your University days? If you will agree with me that the answer is ‘no’, it is because you have moved from this stage to the next.

Rigidity makes you look ridiculous in almost everything – in your opinions and actions, and even in the way you dress.

If someone, say Lamorin, can say that a girl is ripe for marriage because she started menstruation yesterday; that person not only ignores the fact that marriage is less of physical maturity than mental and emotional maturity, he also fails to realize that the primary purpose of marriage is not childbirth.

Final Thoughts

Any fool (even lunatics) can menstruate or even give birth, but I doubt if just anybody can nurture a marriage to success.

There are so many medical complications that could arise from child marriage which I assume we all know. Does it worry the distinguished senator that these cases are predominant in the North where he is from?


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