Nigeria is party to international human rights conventions that guarantee the rights of children, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).
Article 21(2) of the ACRWC expressly outlaws "child marriage" and "child betrothal" and calls on states parties to take action to specify the minimum age of marriage to be 18 (the Senator's wife is only 13). Numerous articles of the CRC are relevant to child marriage, including Article 19 (1), which states that:
Nigeria clearly has an obligation under international law to protect children within its jurisdiction from all possible violations of the rights of a child. The state is obliged to protect and guarantee the rights of the Senator's "child bride" and to bring the lawmaker to justice for abusing and violating the rights of a child.
"States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child."
Child and forced marriage is a shameful practice! It violates human rights and the consequences of the practice are far-reaching. Nigeria's authorities, including the new President - Goodluck Jonathan, should ensure that the investigation does not "die a quiet death" before justice is served.
Photo of Ahmed Sani Yerima from Wikipedia.