Monday, 22 July 2013

Rihanna complains of her new hair interfering in her sex life

Rihanna complains of her new hair interfering in her sex life. Here's how MTO is reporting it;


Facebook And Google Aren't As Popular As You Think (And 6 Other Things You Need To Know About Online Selling To Overseas Customers)

You’re online.  You’ve setup a great e-commerce site.  And you want to sell more of your products overseas. Maybe it’s to China where there could be “half a billion” opportunities.  Or Europe.  Or South America.  Financing options, led by the Export-Import Bank and others like HSBC are plentiful.  TheU.S. Government and the Small Business administration have both developed comprehensive sites with tons of resources to help businesses, big and small, to export their products to overseas customers.  In other words, there are plenty of resources available to help you. 
But here’s the most important thing when selling your products online to overseas customers:  you’ve got to focus on the right market.  A miscalculation could be costly, or even fatal if you bet on the wrong place.  It’s a big world.  And you’re not going to be able to cover it all.  So it’s likely you’ll have to do it one market at a time.
Last week, AVG, who makes business, personal and mobile security products, put together this interesting infographic about the Internet, e-commerce and online markets in other countries.  Full disclosure:  AVG is a client of my company.  I also blog on their website.  I took some time to look at this infographic and learned a few things.  Here are a few examples.
1.  Mobile devices are hugely popular in the U.S., but not as much as you think.  In fact, despite their huge popularity, most Internet pages in the U.S. (87%) are still overwhelmingly viewed through desktop computers.  Want to design a marketing campaign or sell your products online where mobile views are more popular?  Consider India or South Korea, where 55% and 33% of online usage respectively goes through mobile devices.  France, Germany, Italy and Russia lag far behind.Last week, AVG, who makes business, personal and mobile security products, put together this interesting infographic about the Internet, e-commerce and online markets in other countries.  Full disclosure:  AVG is a client of my company.  I also blog on their website.  I took some time to look at this infographic and learned a few things.  Here are a few examples.
2.  Depending on where you sell, Facebook FB -0.23% is not necessarily the king of social media.  In fact, it’s not even the leading social media outlet in China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.  According to the AVG survey China’s QZone has the biggest number of social media users per country with 190 million and VK (originally VKontakte) has over 100 million users in Russia.  Cyworld is South Korea’s most popular social network.  And you thought it was challenging enough to get people to engage on Facebook!
3 – Google GOOG +0.56% is not the search engine market leader everywhere.  OK, in just about every county it dominates.  But not as much as you may think.  In Russia, for example, just 55% of searches go through Google and in Japan it’s 66% (this number is more than 90% in most western countries).  In reality, if you want online users in China to be able to find your products you’ll need to be proficient on Baidu.  Depending on where in the world you sell, your search optimization strategy may need to change.  And where is Google most popular?  Brazil!
4 – Some countries are doing work faster online.  For example, the AVG analysis showed that South Korea and Japan have the fastest average download speeds, with South Africa and India having the slowest.  Online buyers in England, Germany, and Russia have faster download speeds than the U.S.  Browsing in China and Australia are significantly slower.  For those countries where the Internet is slower, a quicker and easier buying process, with less graphics and downloads, will be important.  How quick and easy is it to buy products from your website?

5 – Australia has the most online users.  You’d think with all that sun and potential for adventure, most Australians would be outside chasing kangaroos and bungee jumping.   But according to AVG’s survey, 88.8% of Australians are online, compared to 78% in the U.S., 58% in Italy and 11% in India.  Seems like a good market to sell your wares.  Just be careful of their slow download speeds (see 4 above).

6.  The U.S. is still the biggest online market in the world.  The potential size of the American online market (GDP per head times by the number of online users) is estimated at $11.3 trillion.  In second place is Japan with an estimated potential of $3.35 trillion, followed by China who with all its economic power and population has a potential of $3.16 trillion – less than third of the U.S.  So to get the biggest bang from your online buck it may make sense to focus on those three countries.  The smallest potential online markets are in India ($266 billion), Saudi Arabia ($233 billion) and Indonesia ($131 billion).
The takeaway?  Know your market.  You can’t be everything to everyone.  And you probably don’t have the resources to make the kind of investment you want everywhere.  To really make an impact overseas you’ll need to focus on those markets that will generate the biggest return for your investment.  And you better get to know the social engine and search marketing tools that are most popular in those markets if you want to reach as many customers as possible.

Photos: Eniola Badmus Spotted With New Pal

Nollywood plus-size actress Eniola Badmus, who is popularly known as Gbogbo Big Girlz in Omo Ghetto surely had a blast while having a pool hangout with a friend.
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Photos From Yvonne Nelson's "House Of Gold" Premiere

Ghanian actress, Yvonne Nelson premiered her third production House of Gold at the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday 19th of July 2013. Her fellow Ghanaian stars Majid Michel and Eddie Watson were on ground to support her. Also Nollywood stars including Rukky Sanda, Ikay Ogbonna, Ebube Nwagbo and Mary Uranta as well as House of Gold actress/Nigerian Idol winner Mercy Chinwo were also at the event.
...more lovely pics after the cut...

Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde On Child Marriage

The pretty actress who was in Bayelsa over the weekend  for the 2013 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant, spoke on the senate bill endorsing underage marriage in Nigeria. 
Omotola who was among the panel of judges for the beauty competition, was presented with a Silverbird Unique Personality Award (SUPA). Just before receiving the award, she gave an emotional speech on the troubling issue of child marriage.  Read the transcript of the speech below:
Let me first and foremost thank The Lord almighty, my saviour and help for this award. 
 Thanks also to Silverbird group the organizers of MBGN Thanks to my wonderful husband, Capt Matthew Ekeinde, my support and best friend whose also here tonight.
 I am Today one of the Most influential person/people in the world because I wasn’t given off to marriage before the age of 18. It scares and totally shocks me that the Senate in Nigeria (the most populous Black nation in the world and Giant of Africa) would not be passing in a law ensuring that every child should compulsorily be enrolled in school. 
 A very alarming number of children today are on the streets hawking or have been abused, raped or are married to men/women who should be protecting them. Who protects the children of Nigeria? 
 Would we wait for another Milala before we act? Should we now remove the parental caution on movies that say “Not for persons below 18″. This is a call for justice and equity for children especially the Nigerian Girl child, who has the right to quality education, a childhood and the decision of whom and when to marry.
 My Name is Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and I say No to phedophilia and No to the senate Bill endorsing Child marriage in Nigeria.

SHOCKING: How Prophet TB Joshua Influenced President Jonathan To Release Al-Mustapha

This is an interesting but shocking one from Sahara their report below:
Sources have told SaharaReporters that last week’s “judicial decision” which set free ofmurder charges Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to late Nigerian dictator, Sanni Abacha, is owed to President Goodluck Jonathan, who was following a “spiritual” fortune-telling that would enable him to win the 2015 election.
Controversial Lagos sect leader, Pastor TB Joshua, who has Mr. Jonathan eating out of his hands, has been identified as the person who told the Nigeria leader that his political fortune rests with setting Al Mustapha free.  
In addition, Mr. Joshua has also told Mr. Jonathan if he is to win in 2015, he needs to bring back to Nigeria James Ibori, the former Delta State governor who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in the United Kingdom.
After Mr. Joshua's spiritual “forecast” was told to Mr. Jonathan, SaharaReporters sources say he instructed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke to take care of the judges involved in the case, giving him a war chest of $2 million.  
But a judge, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, a Northern Muslim, who was earlier contacted to do the dirty job, refused to accept the bribe and removed himself from consideration of the plan.
Another judge, Amina Augie, was then drafted to handle the Al-Mustapha’s acquittal.  Ms. Augie, formerly known as Anna Graham, who is originally from Anambra State and fourth wife of late Senator Adamu Augie of Kebbi State, took the case and assembled some lawyers to help with drafting the judgement.
It is also alleged that she got help from some members of the Nigerian human rights community in drafting the judgement, which blamed the prosecutors in Mr. Mustapha's case for doing a “shoddy” job.  Among other ridiculous arguments, Ms. Augie’s claimed in the judgement that the prosecution couldn't provide the bullet that killed Mrs. Kudirat Abiola in 1996.

A source at the Presidency in Abuja told Saharareporters that Mr.  Joshua has so much control over Mr. Jonathan right now that whatever he requests is granted without delay because the president believes that the pastor holds the spiritual key to his electoral success in 2015.
President Jonathan and his wife, Patience have made several nocturnal visits to the pastor since becoming president.  Al Mustapha also visited the Pastor soon after he was released from prison before heading to Kano to meet with family and friends.

It's Time For The United States To Cease Financial Aid To Egypt

July 3, 2013-Foosball and Military Takeover
Egypt, July 3, 2013(Photo credit: Moravsky Vrabec)

Egypt is a disaster veering toward catastrophe.  President Barack Obama’s decision to ignore U.S. law by continuing financial aid will only exacerbate the situation.  The administration’s signal achievement is that almost everyone in Egypt now blames America, which has provided almost $75 billion in financial assistance to Cairo over the years.
Egypt became a top aid recipient after Anwar Sadat switched sides during the Cold War.  His government was paid even more for making peace with Israel.  Washington argued that the stability seemingly purchased was a good deal.  No longer, however
First, the law requires halting assistance.  If the administration doesn’t want to obey, it should urge Congress to amend the law.  Only by applying a Clintonesque twist can what happened in Cairo—the army arresting the president and top aides, prosecuting opponents, shutting television stations, detaining journalists, freezing assets, and shooting demonstrators—be called something other than a coup.  In fact, the Associated Press detailed how the military planned its takeover for months and aided the group Tamarrod in building opposition to former president Mohamed Morsi.
The Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips acknowledged that “the letter of the law does require a cutoff of U.S. aid,” but contended that “the spirit of the law, which was passed to help protect democracy, would support continuing aid because the coup was launched against a leader who was ignoring the will of the people in order to impose his anti-democratic Islamist agenda"
Traditionally conservatives do not favor legal feelings over enactments.  More important, Morsi was not alone in his authoritarian tendencies.  Mubarak-era military, judicial, and bureaucratic leaders worked to block democratic rule at every turn.  Nor was Morsi the first elected leader to inflate his own powers:  George W. Bush and Barack Obama come to mind.
Moreover, it is sheer fantasy to impute democratic yearnings to the Egyptian military, a praetorian institution which served as the guardian of dictatorship since the 1952 coup against King Farouk I.  Egyptian military officers are a caste apart, pampered apparatchiks who control as much as 40 percent of the economy. They always have been far more interested in power and privilege than democracy and liberty.  Noted Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute:  “the military traditionally represents the older elite as well in Egyptian society, which feels that it’s their God-given right to do this sort of thing.”  For the generals, Morsi’s authoritarianism simply became a pretext for their authoritarianism.
Second, abundant foreign “aid” has contributed to Egypt’s catastrophic economic failure.  Government-to-government assistance has consistently hindered rather than advanced economic progress in developing states.  John Bolton recently argued:  “Everyone, whatever their politics, agrees that Egypt’s economy needs massive assistance.”  Actually, no.  What that economy needs is massive reform.  Unfortunately, American subsidies discourage reform by underwriting Egypt’s inefficient and counterproductive economic policies.
Third, whatever political influence the U.S. may have gained from foreign aid was dissipated when Cairo realized that it could count on receiving the money irrespective of its behavior.  The Washington Post’sDavid Ignatius contended:  “Better to continue aid, and insist that it be conditioned on the military scheduling early elections.”  However, that requires the willingness to stop writing checks, which Washington has never done and obviously will never do.
Where is the evidence of American leverage?  The Mubarak regime rejected both economic and political reform, creating the corrupt, inefficient state which fails the Egyptian people today.  As the revolution unfolded the administration successively declared itself for Hosni Mubarak, his negotiated exit, and his speedy exit, without Egyptians paying the slightest attention.  Although the administration attempted to mobilize its network of U.S. trained Egyptian officers, Adm. Mike Mullen, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that money “couldn’t buy the U.S. the connections it needed in a time like this.”
The decision to continue aid under President Morsi had no positive effect.  He pursued exclusionary political and incompetent economic policies, apparently against Washington’s advice.  The security services worked to undermine his government, also presumably against the administration’s wishes.
The coup even more dramatically demonstrated U.S. impotence.  Observed the Hoover Institution’s Kori Schake:  “Reports that the national security advisor, secretary of state, secretary of defense, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had tried unsuccessfully to restrain Egypt’s military led to the [conclusion] that the United states has very little influence over a military determined to once again entrench itself above elected civilians.”
No one in Cairo is listening to Washington now.  The military is adopting the Egyptian equivalent of North Korea’s “military first” policy, shooting demonstrators, making political decisions, and appointing civilians friendly to the military.  Even the coup-friendly Wall Street Journal admitted:  “the military drew up the new constitutional ‘road map’ in secret without consultation with the anti-Morsi opposition.  The interim president will rule by decree.  The constitution, which an authoritarian Mr. Morsi rammed through late last year, will be redrafted by unelected officials,” mostly Mubarak retreads.
Worse, contra Washington’s plaintive pleas, the military has reverted to the Nasser-Sadat-Mubarak policy of suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood.  If the movement goes into violent resistance there will be neither stability nor democracy in Egypt.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns visited Cairo two weeks after the coup.  Brotherhood leaders refused to see him.  Morsi’s opponents, the fundamentalist al-Nour Party and liberal Tamarrod movement, also rebuffed the U.S. envoy.  At least Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi—who simultaneously serves as head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, defense minister, and deputy prime minister—gave Burns an audience. However, the regime continued to target Brotherhood officials even as Burns called for “the military to avoid any politically motivated arrests.”

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: The Devil made me kill my first husband with a sto...

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: The Devil made me kill my first husband with a sto...: Thirty-year-old pregnant woman, Fatimoh Issa, has been arrested by the Kwara State Police Command for allegedly killing her first ...

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: Former Eagles Player, Pius Oleh Found Dead

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: Former Eagles Player, Pius Oleh Found Dead: Pius Oleh was found dead in his car garage in his United States home. The coordinator of the Association of Nigerian ex-internationa...

Former Eagles Player, Pius Oleh Found Dead

Pius Oleh was found dead in his car garage in his United States home.

The coordinator of the Association of Nigerian ex-internationals in the Diasposa (ANED), Pual Okoku said a former Flying Eagles teammate Alphonsus Akhahon, who resides in Michigan and a one-time close friend of the deceased former footballer confirmed Oleh’s demise. He said,
“It is true that Pius Oleh was found dead at his home car garage and the unconfirmed cause of death was linked to carbon monoxide. 

The Devil made me kill my first husband with a stone- Pregnant woman (Photo)

Thirty-year-old pregnant woman, Fatimoh Issa, has been arrested by the Kwara State Police Command for allegedly killing her first husband, Issa Yunusa, 48.

Our correspondent gathered on Sunday that Yunusa was a commercial motorcyclist in Ilorin.

Though the marriage had been blessed with three children, it was said that Fatimoh abandoned Yunusa after he had an accident and became financially incapacitated as he was no longer able to operate his commercial motorcycle business.

Fatimoh was said to have later met another man, Gani Ajibade, 25, a tricycle driver, with whom she started another relationship.

Our correspondent learnt that the new relationship had been blessed with a child, while Fatimoh was also said to be expecting another baby for Ajibade.
It was learnt that not long ago, Fatimoh was informed that her former husband, Yunusa had fully recovered and had bought another motorcycle. She decided to go back to him.

However, while leaving Ajibade’s house, sources said she took his mobile phone. The source added thatYunusa accepted Fatimoh back.

But Ajibade, who was not pleased with the turn of events, was said to have stormed Yunusa’s residence and demanded for his mobile phone.

The deceased was said to have promised Ajibade that he would get back the phone from the woman.

But the following morning, July 17, the neighbours were woken up about 5am by shouts from Fatimoh, who was seeking help from neighbours.

Some of the neighbours rushed into Yinusa’s house to know what the problem was. They found Yinusa in a pool of blood. Yinusa was said to have been hit by a heavy object on the head.

A top police officer, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “Yunusa was attacked with a heavy stone and eventually killed by Fatimoh.”

Neighbours were said to have made spirited efforts to rush Yinusa to hospital for treatment. But taxi drivers were said to have refused to convey the victims because they feared that he might die on the way to hospital.

Our correspondent gathered that the police subsequently arrested and detained Fatimoh and Ajibade at the State Criminal Investigation Department after Yunusa was confirmed dead.

The Kwara State Police Public Relation Officer, 
Mr. Olufemi Fabode, on Sunday said the two suspects were transferred from A Division to the SCID.

He added that Fatimoh had confessed to having committed the crime. Fabode, who is a deputy superintendent of police, said the suspect blamed the devil for her actions.

He said, “She told us that it was work of the devil. We also asked her what she used to kill him. She said she used a big stone. But when we asked her who would take care of the children since she killed her husband, she kept mute.”

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: Buhari, Tinubu Are Not Democrats –PDP

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: Buhari, Tinubu Are Not Democrats –PDP: The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party  has told the leader of Congress for Progressive Change, Maj.- Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (re...

Buhari, Tinubu Are Not Democrats –PDP

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party  has told the leader of Congress for Progressive Change, Maj.- Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to stop parading themselves as saints and democrats.
It  said it had taken stock of the activities of the two men and  came to the conclusion  that they were bitter because they knew  that “they will lose the 2015 general elections despite  the so-called merger of their parties which is built on deceit, corruption and falsehood and as such want to invent excuses” ahead of time.
PDP Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tony Okeke, in a statement in Abuja said, “Buhari and Tinubu, who are well-known despots, lack the moral justification to pontificate on democracy,especially when all their actions are dictatorial.”
But the ACN, through its spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, berated the PDP, saying  its leadership lacked knowledge on happenings in the party.
Mohammed asked the PDP  leadership to look inward in  order to be able to  realise that there were works to be done in-house before it  could accuse others of inaction or dictatorship.
Okeke said, “In 2003, he forced John Nwodo Jr. and other presidential candidates in the then All Peoples Party  to step down for him,  leading to the famous ‘I weep for Nigeria’ statement by Nwodo. In 2003, Buhari imposed himself and failed. In 2007 and 2011, he imposed himself and failed. If he imposes himself and his lackey, Tinubu or Tinubu’s wife as a  running-mate in 2015, he will also fail.”The statement also described Tinubu as a man lacking in democratic credentials.
Okeke said, “Tinubu has been going around making statements to portray himself as a hero of democracy from which imaginary pedestal he continues to vilify and accuse the PDP of working against Nigeria’s democracy.”It is to say the least, rather pathetic that the opposition leader has failed to realise that Nigerians have since become fully aware of his  antecedents  as he has continued to exhibit crass dictatorship in the leadership of the ACN and states controlled by the ACN.”
Mohammed, however, carpeted Okeke on his claim, saying he had little or no knowledge of issues he was raising.He said, “Oluremi Tinubu represents Lagos Central Senatorial District while Mamora was representing Lagos East. You can see the level of ignorance from the people who are representing the self-acclaimed biggest political  party in Nigeria.”
He said, “The PDP seems not to know the different between endorsement and election. Endorsement does not stop election and primary.”What is happening in Rivers State is a case of intolerance. What happened in Bayelsa State when  Timipre  Sylva was stopped by a single person, was that not the height of dictatorship. The PDP is known for intolerance.”

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: Tolu Ogunlesi: Senator Yerima And The Marriage Age...

Welcome to Sanni Kusby's Blog: Tolu Ogunlesi: Senator Yerima And The Marriage Age...: The last time the Nigerian Constitution was in the news like this, the spotlight was on Section 145. And, that was in 2010. It took t...

Tolu Ogunlesi: Senator Yerima And The Marriage Age Controversy

The last time the Nigerian Constitution was in the news like this, the spotlight was on Section 145. And, that was in 2010. It took the Senate President, David Mark’s ingenious “Doctrine of Necessity” to resolve the matter. Three and half years later, it’s Section 29 that’s in the news.
This is what happened last week. The Senators, having previously voted, as part of the ongoing constitutional amendment, to expunge Section 29 Part 4b (S29(4)b), which introduces an element of ambiguity into the age at which a female is considered old enough to be able to renounce Nigerian citizenship, succumbed to the opposing arguments of Senator Ahmed Yerima (ANPP/APC; Zamfara West), and repeated the vote. At this second vote, those in support of the deletion failed to muster the required two-thirds majority; meaning that the clause will now stay in the amended constitution.
This is what that controversial section says
S29(1): “Any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.
S29(4): “For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section.(a) ‘full age’ means the age of eighteen years and above;
(b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”
S29(4)b is therefore to be interpreted to mean that a female who less than 18, and who wishes to renounce her Nigerian citizenship, shall be able to do so, as long as she is married. Senator Yerima’s stance is of course connected to the fact that he believes that on the basis of his religion, Islam, he is allowed to marry a girl of any age. In 2010, he married, in Abuja, a 13-year-old Egyptian girl.
The controversy throws up a number of interesting issues:
One. S29(4)b is primarily to do with the conditions under which a person can renounce their citizenship of Nigeria. It was not intended by the Constitution to prescribe anything relating to marriage or marriage age. Looking at it again, S29(4) starts out by restricting the scope of its interpretation to S29(1) – renunciation of Nigerian citizenship. In other words, it does not expect to be applied outside of the consideration of the conditions under which a person can renounce their citizenship of Nigeria.
Two. That section of the constitution was written at a time when it was permissible in Nigeria for a person younger than 18 to be married. Now that there is a Child Rights Act in place which clearly states that, “No person under the age of 18 years is capable of contracting a valid marriage, and accordingly, a marriage so contracted is null and void and of no effect whatsoever”, S29(4)b has been rendered irrelevant, and should indeed have been deleted. The failure of the Senate to delete it is no doubt worthy of condemnation, and suggests the worrying possibility that a good number of our lawmakers are wallowing in ignorance of the laws of the land.
Three. Interpreting what happened in the Senate last week to mean that underage marriage is now legal or authorised in Nigeria does not seem to me an accurate, useful, or insightful response.
The Nigerian Constitution, apart from investing the Sharia Court of Appeal with the “(competence) to decide any question of Islamic personal law regarding a marriage concluded in accordance with that law”, does not by itself prescribe any minimum age of consent for marriage.
What it does is recognise, via S29(4)b, the possibility that the minimum age for marriage could be less than 18 (In England, Wales and Scotland for example, the minimum age is 16 – England and Wales have parental consent requirements for persons younger than 18; Scotland doesn’t, which means that 16 and 17-year-old English and Welsh youths can circumvent their home laws by travelling to Scotland to marry without parental consent).
The refusal of the Constitution to stipulate a minimum age of marriage is in my opinion an acknowledgement of the fact that there should be other laws whose duty is to deal with such matters as marriage. I do not think it is the duty of the Constitution to descend to the level of enacting rules for matters of human relationships that can and should be taken care of by specialised laws.In the case of a minimum age for marriage, such a specialised law exists.
In 2003, the National Assembly passed the Child Rights Act which is unambiguous in its prescriptions, and is intended to clear the confusion arising from the profusion of laws relating to the minimum age at which a person can be married in Nigeria.
According to Sections 21 to 24 of the Act:
21. No person under the age of 18 years is capable of contracting a valid marriage, and accordingly, a marriage so contracted is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
22.—(1) No parent, guardian or any other person shall betroth a child to any person. (2) A betrothal in contravention of Subsection (1) of this section is null and void.
23. A person—
(a) who marries a child; or
(b) to whom a child is betrothed; or
(c) who promotes the marriage of a child; or
(d) who betroths a child commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000 (five hundred thousand naira) or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Now, this is where the problem starts. The Child Rights Act does not automatically apply across Nigeria. It has to be “domesticated” on a state-by-state level. State Houses of Assembly have to adopt the legislation in their states. Alas, in the decade since the law was passed at the Federal level, up to 12 states have failed or refused to adopt it. (You will realise that the list of Senators who voted against the deletion of S29(4)b significantly coincides with the states that have yet to adopt the Child Rights Act. That tells you where the problem lies). Meanwhile, a state like Lagos is already working hard to further strengthen the provisions of the Act – the state House of Assembly is currently debating stiffer penalties for sexual abuse of children.
So, what is the way forward?
This is what I think. We should be putting pressure on the Houses of Assembly and governors of the states that have refused to adopt the Child Rights Act; and on the judiciary and law enforcement agents to ensure the implementation of the law in every state in which it’s already in force.
We should also put pressure on the Nigerian government to sign up to the United Nations’ Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, which compels signatories to “take legislative action to specify a minimum age for marriage” and empowers such a legislation to supersede all “customs, ancient laws and practices” inconsistent with it.
Now that the Senate – through the decision of Senate President David Mark to revisit an already settled matter – has done its worst, all concerned citizens, irrespective of religion, class or ethnic group need to immediately shift the battleground to the state Houses of Assembly in the 12 or 13 states that have yet to adopt the legislation.And this is where First Lady Patience Jonathan ought to step in.
The Office of the First Spouse, if there is any of such, exists, in my opinion, for a time as this, to bring its considerable influence to bear on matters that affect the lives and welfare of society’s most vulnerable.And this controversy ought to provoke some soul-searching amidst us, regarding our attitudes towards child labour.
It is the height of hypocrisy to condemn the Senate for what just happened, whilst we ourselves are keeping and maltreating 11-year-olds in our homes in the name of “house-help”.
Standing up for children’s rights means standing up for all the rights of a child – not just the right to not be married off, but also the right to be given an education, and to be treated with dignity and respect.
Finally, in a secular state like Nigeria, politicians need to stop using religion as a political tool (Yerima seems adept at this; recall he kick-started the Sharia controversy in 1999).
In ending this, let me also just point out one interesting fact: Available statistics indicate that Zamfara State, the state where Yerima was governor for eight years, and is now a Senator, has the second-lowest school attendance rate in Nigeria. But the man isn’t losing any sleep over that disgraceful scenario.The only thing capable of making him stay awake at night, it seems, is any attempt to get him to see the impropriety of insisting on marrying teenage girls. Who needs a Senator like that?