Yerima's Child Bride: Muslims Plan One Million March

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LAGOS, June 08, (THEWILL) - There was a twist in the raging controversies surrounding the marriage of former Zamfara State Governor, Senator Sani Yerima to an Egyptian minor today as an Islamic advocacy group unveiled plans to stage a one-million march in the Federal Capital Territory.

Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) announced the plan to embark on a one million march at a press briefing held at the Ladi Lawal Press Centre in the State Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) if the National Assembly continues the probe of the marriage.

The group, whose position was read by MURIC Director, Dr. Is-haq Akintola this afternoon, accused the National Assembly of acting the script of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with a view to smearing and discrediting the Islamic religion in the country.

The group therefore demanded an immediate dissolution of probe panels it set up to investigate whether Yerima had flouted the Child Right Act and the 1999 Constitution.

Speaking at the conference, Akintola, who read the position of the group, affirmed that if the victimization of Yerima "continues on his marriage to an Egyptian lady, Muslims will organize a one million march peacefully to the National Assembly on a Friday."

According to the group, if some people with evil intention can march to the National Assembly demanding the persecution of Yerima for conducting an Islamic marriage, Muslims also have the right to respond in like manner and in defence of their hero and liberator, the Yerima of Bakura.

It further said the continued persecution of Yerima "constitutes a potent threat to peace in this country," saying that Yerima "is undeniably a hero among Muslims having used the instrumentality of Shari’ah to liberate Nigerian Muslims. This is why he is being persecuted."

The group also demanded dissolution of the panels set up by both the Senate and House of Representatives to probe Yerima’s marriage, claiming that the exercise was an attempt to probe the scripture of Islam and that Yerima’s marriage is a private affair.

It said the action of the National Assembly "stands in contra-distinction of article 18 of the United Nations Charter, which affirms this indubitable freedom to practice ones religion. It is also contravenes Article 9 and 14 of the European Treaty of Human Right as well Article 18 and 19 of the treaty of civil and political Rights.

"What is most clear in this marriage hullabaloo is that none of the critics have made any attempt to find out the position of Islam regarding marriage. It is highly regrettable that the National Assembly has also failed in this direction. We are alarmed that the lawmakers have little respect for the religion of Islam and its teachings. They now occupy themselves with investigating the Shari’ah and probing Islam," it said.

The group said the National Assembly "has no locus standi to investigate an Islamic marriage which conforms in its totality with teachings of Islam," urging Nigerian Muslims to remain vigilant and resist all provocations and maintain peace and order".

In strong terms, the group accused the child rights protagonists of prejudice and bias seeking to know what the women groups did when Pastor Trybest Atonye defiled his wife’s 13-year-old sister just two weeks ago and what they did when a randy pastor, Eke Mbah, aka Reverend Might, raped eight-year-old twin sisters?

The group also wondered why "these people look the other way when pastors commit atrocities and why are they eager to act when it involves Muslims alone. Well, they missed the point. Yerima has done nothing un-Islamic," they claimed.