Wife of the Ekiti State governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, yesterday condemned the Senate for voting to amend the aspect of the constitution forbidding underage marriage.
Fayemi, who said the move was inimical to the growth and liberation of the female gender, urged the womenfolk to rise against the development, saying the need to press for the criminalisation of early marriage could not be overemphasised.
The governor’s wife spoke in Ado-Ekiti at the second Annual Public Lecture organised by Women and Children Development and Health Research Initiative, WCDHRI, in collaboration with the Ekiti Development Foundation yesterday.
Reacting to Wednesday’s debate at the Senate, where the lawmakers voted to reverse the law that outlawed underage marriage in the ongoing constitution amendment, particularly the amendment to Section 29(a) of the 1999 Constitution that pegs the full age at 18, Fayemi said legalising early marriage would further cause decline in female access to education in the country.
She said: “I am seriously disappointed that distinguished senators could reverse the vote that would have outlawed underage marriage. I want to charge the women to rise up and reject the action by pressing for the criminalisation of early marriage in Nigeria.”
In the lecture entitled: “Gender Perspective and the Role of Media in Cancer Prevention in Nigeria,” the governor’s wife said cancer issues should be handled with the necessary seriousness to save the country’s productive population.
She assured that the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi would put mechanisms and policies in place that would safeguard the health of women, particularly the fight against breast and cervical cancers.
The WCDHRI President, Dr. Pius Adeojo, who said 70 per cent of people afflicted with cancer were from developing and underdeveloped nations, said cancer prevention among the citizens should be taken as a matter of national priority to forestall premature deaths among Nigerians.
The Vice-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, urged government at all levels to give women, who are the most vulnerable to breast and cervical cancers, free access to quality medical care.