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Under-age marriage criminal, Soyinka, Falana insist


Soyinka at the briefing in Lagos … on Tuesday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Soyinka at the briefing in Lagos … on Tuesday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

• Patience freed, reunites with family
• Yinusa may appear in court today

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has said the issue of marrying under-age must be treated as a criminal act with no religious embellishment. According to him, the welfare of a child is even more serious and more important than looted funds, noting that such lucre could always be retrieved, but damage done to virginal fistula of a child ruins the child for life.

“If you steal money, you are committing a crime against me and secular society, but when you damage a child, because of your own depravity, you ruin that child for life, traumatised that child, if you say you believe in any deity, whether it is called God, Allah, or whatever, you are committing a crime against the deity and so do not come to tell me that you are religious and pious,” he stated.

For the professor, when religion is invoked, there are people who will say, they are more pious and holier and so can interpret the same religious book to authorise to kill, adding that: “And that is what happens when we allow people to get away with impunity based on religion. So let us get religion out of this. We are talking about pure criminality and it is my demand that until you make an example of people like Yerima, there would be thousand of Yunusa, the man who adopted Ese.”

He flayed the society, especially women group, for failing to stoutly kick against under-age marriage when the former governor of Zamfara State married a 13-year old Egyptian girl.

Soyinka, however, condemned the statement credited to an Islamic leader, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, where he was quoted to have said there was no age barrier in marriage in Islam, including saying that non-Muslims should keep off Muslim affairs.

Also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), Femi Falana, while corroborating Soyinka submitted that any attempt to bring religion into the matter is sheer hypocrisy and diversion.

He further stated that Yinusa Dahiru, the mastermind in Ese Oruru’s saga, violated Section 38 Subsection 2 of the Nigeria Constitution.

Meanwhile, the 15-year-old Benue girl, Patience Paul, who was abducted since last year and taken to Sokoto, has reunited with her family after the intervention of Governor Aminu Tambuwal and other relevant security agencies.

Relatedly, Yinusa may today appear in court.

Ese’s father, Charles Oruru, who gave the indication yesterday in Yenagoa while speaking with The Guardian, said the family was giving useful information to the police to accelerate the possible prosecution of the culprits.

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