The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, has advocated a ban on marriage of women below 18 years, saying most of the women suffering from reproductive health challenges were products of such marriages.
The emir, who spoke at a workshop organised by the Northern Islamic Forum in Kano on Tuesday, said time had come when the Muslim community should live by the reality of economic recession and consequences of early marriage.
He said the era when people gave out their daughters in marriage at early ages and asked the husbands to wait till they were ripe was nothing but a deception.
According to Mr. Sanusi, that strategy no longer worked as it had led to cases of divorce and other ugly situations.
The emir recounted that in the past the rich and the poor married four wives and bore between 30 and 40 children because the economy was not only buoyant but also because people were not relying on government for sustenance.
He said though the harsh economic realities now make it impossible for people to feed twice a day these days, “unfortunately our people do not change and somebody with virtually nothing still give birth to 20 or 30 children and this must stop”.
Mr. Sanusi said there was a need to peg the marriage age now because of the challenges early marriage was posing.
According to him, the marriage age in Egypt at present was 18 while that of Malaysia and Morocco were 19 and 17 respectively, asking “why not we here urgently call for pegging of marriage ages within Muslim Umma in Nigeria?”
He argued that since Nigeria Muslims also practice the Malikiys School of thought as these countries, “we should follow suit and peg our own marriage ages for our own good”.
Mr. Sanusi called on the relevant authorities to create a law that would punish anybody that gave birth to children and allowed them to suffer.
According to him, most of those neglected children not only turned victims of social vices but also engage in terrorism.