Nothing, not even an insane level of maturity or consent, will justify marrying off a girl until she comes of age and can legally make these decisions. (Oyibos)
As far as social media platforms go, Twitter has become the scene for some very revealing conversations. This time, some young men on the platform are making a case for why it is okay to have intercourse with and get married to underaged girls.
In recent times, the subject of child marriage has come to the front burner quite frequently. After a certain governor from the North took a teenager for his wife, many sought to address the religious and cultural beliefs that have allowed this distateful trend to continue.
However, as it turned out on this occasion, we are discovering that some of the younger generation are also of the opinion that taking a young, underaged girl for a wife is not wrong.
Following the publishing of a series of news editorials on Twitter, a conversation arose about girl child marriage in Nigeria and how it is still a pervading reality, despite many efforts to sensitize the people to the contrary.
While the majority made strong cases for the perils of child marriage and the implications of having intercourse with underged girls, these were not sentiments that were shared across board.
There’s no defence for child marriage
It could be said that the incidence of child marriage is most common in the North of the country and when the topic comes up, it is not unusual to see many opposing opinions that seek to justify the trend.
Most times, what comes up are reference to the culture of the North and the Islamic religion which some claim permits and validates such union between an older man and an underaged child.
Another common defence is that child marriage prevents fornication and this asinine explanation was raised.
At the height of the discussion, Twitter User @damilohun_A searched through comments on the issue and her findings were a lit more than disturbing.
We may not agree with her generalisation that the pinions from her tweet are from “Hausa Twitter” as it paints an entire region as paedophiles, an assertion which is not true.
Yet the opinions raised reflect a worrisome trend. One, a distateful culture has been passed on to the younger genertion.
Secondly, armed with social media, these twitter users are peddling this as words of marble, dangerous assertions that threaten the safety and innocence of our young women.
One user tweeted, “If she can comfortably take knacks as early as 15, I see nothing wrong in marrying her off at that age“
Another, who sought to rationalise this thinking responded to the prior tweet by saying one would be surprised at how mature the girls can be at the age of 12.
We have a serious problem here
As the fight for women’s rights and the rights of the girl child continue in earnest, it is important that we understand the role that cultural and religious instituations and personalities have playedin upholding this dangerous narrative and encouraging child marriage.
Nothing, not even an insane level of maturity or consent, will justify marrying off a girl until she comes of age and can legally make these decisions.
That we have people who do not understand this is very troubling.