The marriage of a 16-year-old school girl to an Islamic cleric by name Yusuf Lateef has been nullified by a family court sitting in Ondo. Mr. Lateef already has five wives at home.
The said school girl fled from Ore to Akure when Mr. Lateef came to her parents with a marriage proposal last year when she was only 15. Her parents forced her to accept the marriage proposal.
After a date was fixed for the wedding proper, the young girl absconded and didn’t show up for the wedding on that day. Afterwards, this matter was taken to court and Yusuf Lateef was strictly warned to stay away from the young girl in question and ordered the girl to be brought back home to receive quality education and proper care from her family.
This development has brought hope to minors in the country who are being forced by their parents into marriages they do not consent to. Child marriage in Nigeria has always been a problem which has also affected the country’s work force.
According to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 1999, the right age for consent and adulthood is 18 and any one who is not up to that is a minor and should be protected.
This judgement by the court has been described as a victory for children in the state by the Ondo State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Titilola Adeyemi.