The chairman, of the Nigerian Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has insisted that the Senate will never approve any legislation in support of early marriage.
Ekweremadu made the clarification on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen on the recent vote by the Senate on the recommendations of the Constitution Review Committee. Yesterday, Senator Akin Odunsi from Ogun state also made a similar clarification.
He said that the senate rejected the deletion of the clause on renunciation of citizenship, adding that the clause had nothing to do with child marriage as was being insinuated by some Nigerians.
He said that the clause, which had been in the Constitution since 1979, was recommended for deletion by the committee because it was considered discriminatory.
“I just want to appeal to Nigerians to please show understanding. Possibly they should read this section and understand that the issues have nothing to do with early marriage.
“It has nothing to do with Islam. But essentially, it has to do with the renunciation of citizenship. So they have to put it in proper perspective.
“We have no bill to approve early marriage. We are not sponsoring any bill against Islam. This particular provision has been in our Constitution since 1979.
“In essence the senate has not done anything new to that part of the Constitution,’’ he said.
Ekweremadu said that the committee’s recommendations were done in the best interest of Nigerians.
He said that senators voted according to their conscience, the dictates of their constituents and the overall national interest.
He assured that those issues which were not passed would be considered in future amendment exercise.
He said that the principle of democracy played out in the course of the voting as “the majority would have their say while the minority would have the way.’’
“When we sent our recommendations, we had no delusion whatsoever that all the recommendations will pass through. We believed that some would go through and some will not.
“So, you will see that some of those things that failed; we had more than half of the Senate voting for it but because we needed two third; there was nothing we could do about it, ‘’ Ekweremadu added.
Ekweremadu, who doubles as Deputy President of the Senate, explained that the Committee proposed a total of 31 Clause affecting 26 Sections and Schedules of the 1999 Constitution.
He urged state Houses of Assembly to also play their part expeditiously and in the national interest when the bill is transmitted to them.