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Africa
Nigerian senator marries girl of 13
Bride's parents received dowry of $100,000 before wedding took place in Abuja.
Last Modified: 18 May 2010 10:01 GMT
Senator Yerima has defended his decision to marry the 13-year-old, saying it is Islamic [Al Jazeera]

A Nigerian senator has come under fire for marrying an Egyptian girl who is alleged to be 36 years his junior.

Sani Ahmed Yerima, 49, is said to have paid $100,000 as dowry for the 13-year-old girl.

But he has defended his decision to marry a fourth wife as the prospect of being prosecuted looms.

"The Prophet Mohammed married at the age of nine, therefore any Muslim who marries a girl of nine years and above, is following the teachings of the Prophet," Yerima told Al Jazeera.

"If there's anybody who'll tell me that what you did contradicts Islam, I 'll submit - and I'll do whatever they ask me to do."
 
Nigerian human rights organisations say Yerima has broken the law and have called for his immediate arrest.

""If you have a law that says you cannot marry a 13-year-old. If you have a law that says you cannot marry a-15-year old, then why on God’s green earth, will a guy who is a senator, who makes laws, violate or break that same law. It’s because he thinks the law is not applicable to him," said one rights group official.

Yerima's problems have been compounded by the fact that the wedding took place in the capital Abuja, where it is illegal to marry under the age of 18.

But in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north, weddings of underage people do not often cause controversy as many northern states have refused to recognise the law making marriage for people under 18 illegal.

They say that ban is against the teachings of Islam.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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