Ondo senator weeps for endorsing under age girl marriage
By DAYO JOHNSON
AKURE — THE Senator representing Ondo Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly Senator, Ayo Akinyelure wept profusely publicly for being the only senator from the South-West that supported the inclusion of under age girl marriage in the constitution.
Sensing the anger of leaders of the councils he represents in the Senate, who summoned him to explain his action, the senator prostrated, wept and begged them that he voted for “the amendment in error.”
Senator Akinyelure said: “I voted in error. I can never in my life support under age marriage. Whatever this might have caused my people, please, forgive me.
“I will do whatever is humanly possible at my disposal to ensure that this thing is removed from the constitution.”
Condemnations have greeted the votes against the constitutional ammendment, which would have set marriageable age for women at 18.
Stakeholders and leaders, especially women across the six council areas in Ondo Central Senatorial District were irked that he was the only senator in the South West zone that supported what they termed the “inhuman decision.”
The meeting, which held at Adegbemile Hall, Ondo, was witnessed by leaders of the ruling Labour Party and commissioners representing the six councils in the state executive council.
Speaking to the charged audience, Akinyelure said there was a misinterpretation of the vote on his part.
The senator while explaining, burst into tears when he saw the anger of the people against his action.
Before the commencement of the meeting, some angry youths against his position, clashed with the Senator’s supporters and it took the intervention of policemen to stop the uprising from degenerating into a bloodbath.
Stones were hauled at one another by the supporters of the senator and those against his position.
The senator, however, explained that what the Senate considered was the determination of Nigerian constitution for renunciation of citizenship under the Nigeria constitution which was contained in section 29 (4b) which provides that any woman who is married shall be deemed to be full of full age.
Akinyelure said what he voted in favour was that whether a married woman is deemed to be of full age to renounce her Nigerian citizenship and not whether a woman can marry before attaining the age of 18 years.
The Senator said he cannot vote in support of the child marriage, saying, “ I cannot vote in support of child marriage. I cannot support an under-age to go and marry, it is against our culture and customs.
“If voting were to be done by show of hands, I would have been able to correct my error before the voting was concluded by the Senate.”
He, however ,apologised to the leaders of the party in the state and the people of the constituency for the error, saying he regretted his action as he acted in error.
The women leaders across the six council areas disowned him and asked him to renounce his position.
“ We say no to child marriage, it is worst than child abuse, we wonder why he would support the action, can. Ten year old girl face the challenges of marriage.”
Also, the representative of Country Woman Association of Nigeria COWAN Mrs Adeniyi Titilomo described the amendment as inhuman and abuse to womenfolk.