I’m a Nigerian, and a proud one at that. I love my country, I love my Yoruba culture, and I pray that God shakes up that nation. My love for Nigeria doesn’t blind me from the fact that Nigeria has problems. Corrupt government, health care that kills people instead of curing them, lack of constant electricity, a ridiculously high poverty rate, and the list goes on and on and on.
Lately though I’ve found reason to be disgusted with Nigeria, and it break my heart. The country of my birth, where I have these memories of playing in the streets with friends, where I felt safe and joyful, where my innocence was allowed to blossom has become unrecognizable to me. Tales of corruption and uneducated government officials who are incapable of speaking with knowledge (Oga on Top) seem to flood my Facebook news feed like they are something to be used to. It’s sad to listen to the adults around me speak of their home as if there is no hope for it to get better.
If you haven’t been paying attention, I guess this is one of those times when ignorance should be considered bliss. Recently there has been well deserved uproar over the Nigerian Senate and their disgusting attempt at sanctioning child marriage in Nigeria. As a female, and as a citizen of Nigeria, the idea that someone could have decided to set me up for marriage with a man old enough to be grandfather causes me to feel indescribable pain and disgust.
At the age of 12, 13, 14, even now at the age of 20, the idea of being a mother, and a wife is not something that I am ready for and I think that most reasonable people can agree that there is no child that is capable of handling the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of being a wife and mother. The Nigerian senate shouldn’t be surprised with the outrage that they have incited within citizens of Nigeria and the world. They should realize that by striking the sanctions about the age of marriage, they are taking away the innocence of young women who should be allowed to have their childhood. Not only will it rob them of their childhood but instead of helping to produce young women who are educated, and contributing to Nigeria with their careers, these girls will probably be taken out of school and not get an opportunity that everyone is entitled to: an education.
I don’t only have a problem with the Nigerian Senate, and government, I have a problem with the Nigerian people as well. In order for a child to be given into marriage as a child, is permission from the parent not required? I realize that poverty is a problem for families and that by giving their children up they might elevate it, but as a parent it is your job to protect your child until they are able to do it themselves. Placing young women into a situation that they cannot fully grasp is not only selfish, but it’s also another form of enslavement. It says a lot about our society, our government when this is actually a topic up for debate.
I urge us as people, to think about the consequences of these actions, think of your childhood and the freedom that you enjoyed, think of the innocence and think of how you would feel is some man decided that he wanted to marry your young sister/ family member/friend for whatever reason. These are children, not brides and we need to remember that. I keep the hope that Nigeria will realize the error of its ways before more girls are forced into these situations. I’m not a politician and there are things that I don’t know about this issue, but as a human being I know that it is wrong to rob children of their innocence for carnal pleasures.