By George Onmonya Daniel
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have banned child marriage. The new age for marriage now is 18 years. The decision by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Justice was the latest in a string of moves to improve the rights of women in the country. Earlier last year, the government banned marriages for children under the age of 15. Prior to that decision, there was no age limits on marriage for boys or girls.
Nigerian media have gone agog with the news. Child marriage is rampant in the country, most especially in Northern Nigeria where Muslims have debated that it is their religious rights to marry according the Quran which didn’t stipulate age for marriage.
Former Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Sani Yerima, one time married a 13 years old girl when he was in his mid-fifties, which resulted to protests from civil society organizations, but he was defended by most Muslims in the North, even with counter protest against those who said it was improper to marry underaged.
Some people on social media are now asking Nigerian lawmakers to take a cue from Saudi Arabia and completely ban and criminalize underage marriages.