A senator in the West African country of Nigeria, has been criticized for marrying an Egyptian girl who happens to be 36 years his junior. The Senator, Sani Ahmed Yerima, 49, is said to have paid $100,000 as dowry for the 13-year-old girl. But he has defended his decision to marry a fourth wife as the prospect of being prosecuted looms. He is reported to have said that the Prophet Mohammed married at the age of nine, therefore any Muslim who marries a girl of nine years and above, is following the teachings of the Prophet. He went on to say that if there’s anybody who’ll tell me that what he did contradicts Islam, he will submit – and he will do whatever they ask me to do.
But human rights organisations in the country are saying Yerima has broken the law and have called for his immediate arrest.
“”If you have a law that says you cannot marry a 13-year-old. If you have a law that says you cannot marry a-15-year old, then why on God’s green earth, will a guy who is a senator, who makes laws, violate or break that same law. It’s because he thinks the law is not applicable to him,” said one rights group official. Yerima’s problems have been compounded by the fact that the wedding took place in the capital Abuja, where it is illegal to marry under the age of 18.
But in the country’s predominantly Muslim north, weddings of underage people do not often cause controversy as many northern states have refused to recognise the law making marriage for people under 18 illegal. They say that ban is against the teachings of Islam. But one would expect the Senator who because of his position as law maker should know better. But it seems the drive too satisfy his apetite must have deprived him of a second-though process.
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