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July 22, 2013

Nigerians rally around #ChildNotBride

Activists say legislative grey area opens door for child marriage.

Campaign symbol for #ChildNotBride created by Ayomidotun Fadeyi (@IAmAyomiDotun).

A recent vote in Nigeria's Senate has led to a public debate about child marriage in the country.

Last week, senators voted to uphold a clause in the constitution that expands the definition "full age", normally those 18 and above, to include any woman that is married regardless of her age. A group of legislators, led by Senator Sani Ahmed Yerima, successfully opposed changing the definition, arguing that certain religious traditions allow for marriage under 18.

Child rights advocates are now calling for clarity in how the law defines the legal marriage age. In 2003, Nigeria adopted the Child Rights Act, which prohibits marriage under the age of 18. Though it was passed at the federal level, 13 states have yet to implement the act.

Below is footage of the Senate floor during last week's vote.