Former Zamfara State Governor, Senator Sani Ahmad Yerima has backed his decision to marry a 14-year-old Egyptian girl some years back.
Naija News recalls that Yerima’s decision to marry the underage girl (with many reports claiming she was 13 years old) had drawn backlash from across the globe 13 years ago when it was first revealed that he married the foreigner at the national mosque in Abuja.
The outrage prompted a Senate probe — as a sitting senator at the time.
Speaking during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Yerima revealed that his Egyptian bride was older and is now in the process of obtaining a master’s degree.
Objecting to her being 13 years old at the time of their wedding, the lawmaker disclosed that she was around “14, 15” when they married.
He criticised the Child Rights Act (2003) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (2015), saying whatever act is passed at the National Assembly has to be domesticated by the state assemblies.
“And once they have not done that, it’s no longer a law,” he added.
The former governor alleged that former President Olusegun Obasanjo “tried to smuggle the Child Rights Act.
“He passed it at the National Assembly through some manipulations but I don’t think any state in the North domesticated it and passed it.”
Asked to share his views on whether children deserve the right to education and other freedoms enshrined in the Child Rights Act, he argued that marriage could not stop education.
Probed further on the level of education of his Egyptian wife, he said, “She’s doing her master’s degree now.”
On the claim that he paid $100,000 as dowry for the Egyptian girl’s hand in marriage, the former Zamfara governor noted that “it’s not dowry.”
“Provision of the house, provision of dowry, the dresses that she has to wear, everything [in] total,” he said. “At that time, it was just N15 million.”