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“My wife is not 13 yrs old… I won`t tell her age either”- Yerima

Source: huhuonline.com
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After a month of hide and seek game by a 2-term Zamfara Governor and serving Senator of Nigeria over controversial marriage to a minor, an incident which has created storm among many human rights groups; huhuonline.com can disclose that the

embattled lawmaker Ahmed Sani Yerima has said that his fourth wife (names & pictures still out of reach to press) was not 13 years of age, but would not say how old she is. Yerima denied breaking the law of Nigeria but said he would not respect any law that contradicted his religious beliefs.

Recent feelers have it that the Nigerian Senate and Reps has ordered an investigation into the appalling matter after barrage of complaints from women's groups in the country have plagued the ugly incident, but the Senator said he did not care what the groups thought. Yerima said he felt it was this that was behind the uproar over his marriage: "I consider all those complaining about this issue as detractors, because since 1999... Many people have been waging different kind of wars against me," Yerima further said he had followed "standard rules for marriage in Islam". According to him: "I don't care about the issue of age since I have not violated any rule as far as Islam is concerned. History tells us that Prophet Muhammad did marry a young girl as well. Therefore I have not contravened any law. Even if she is 13, as it is being falsely peddled around. If I state the age, they will still use it to smear Islam," he said. Huhuonline.com checks have it that this is not the first time Yerima was faced with allegations of child abuse and child's sexual exploitation, the defiant Senator have been accused in the media of having previously married a 15-year-old girl in 2006, while he was serving as a Governor in Zamfara State.

Huhuonline.com gathered that female Senators, lawyers and doctors etc, who are protesting say that they fear for the child's health: "What we are concerned with is that our minors, the girl child, should be allowed to mature, before going into marriage," Mma Wokocha, President of the Women's Medical Association said. "This very evil act should not be seen to be perpetrated by one of our distinguished legislators...That is what we are saying. The senator is reported to have paid a dowry of $100,000 (£66,000) to the child's parents and to have brought the girl into Nigeria from Egypt. The women's groups want Mr. Sani to be taken to court, to face a fine and a jail sentence. They say he has contravened the Child Rights Act of 2003 which is ratified by Nigeria.

Many women groups, including the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) as well as the Global Association of Women Attorneys (GAFA), had this week stormed the National Assembly complex to protest against the marriage and register their displeasure, pushing for the suspension of the Senator from the Senate. Reacting further Alhaji Yerima said: "As a Muslim, as I always say, I consider God's law and that of his Prophet above any other law. I will not respect any law that contradicts that and whoever wants to sanction me for that is free to do that." He said.

However, Senate's spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, has maintained that the Senate could not be dragged into the private affairs of Yerima, who is the Minority Whip in the Senate. Though the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Senator Ufot-Ekaette, has formally tabled the petitions before the upper legislative chamber.

Senate President, David Mark, therefore, referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions for thorough investigations and report back to the Senate. Raising a point of order through the Senate Standing Order 41, on public petition, Senator Ekaette said: “The petition I am talking about is addressed to me as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs by the Human Rights Commission and other groups. It has to do with the marriage of one of our colleagues to a minor.

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