Kabir Marafa, senator representing Zamfara central, says female senators have been silent over the plight of their “sisters” in his state but they protested when Ahmed Yerima, a former governor of the state, married an underage girl.
Yerima’s marriage to a 13-year-old girl in 2010 drew widespread criticisms. Human rights organisations had said the senator broke the law and should be arrested.
Marafa while contributing to a debate on a motion to commemorate children’s day on Thursday, said there is an estimated 5,000 cases of rape in state.
“I expect the women especially of this senate to stand up shoulder to shoulder with women in Zamfara state,” he said.
“A situation was raised where a commissioner’s wife and her 6 children were kidnapped in their house and there days into the journey nobody knows where she is.
“This caught the attention of the media and everybody because it is a commissioner’s wife. But the issue of kidnapping is a daily thing in Zamfara state today. There is an estimated 5000 victims of rape and we have said it in this chamber but up till now, the women have not stood up to say enough is enough of this very bad incident.
“Whereas in the 6th assembly when my colleague and my leader, Senator Ahmed Yerima fulfilled one of his religious rites by marrying a lady with the consent of her parents almost whole of this chamber was pulled upside down.
“That he married an underage which is nobody’s business in anyway because her parents’ consent to the marriage and Yerima is a Muslim and he married the girl according to Muslim rites. But so much noise was made in this country to the extent that they staged a protest on the streets of Abuja.”
The senator said the children in Zamfara have right to life.
“You are talking of child’s rights; we in Zamfara are talking of Child’s survival. I want to see you stand up to say the children of Zamfara have the right to survive. There is humanitarian crisis in Zamfara,” Marafa said.
Moving the motion earlier, Binta Garba, senator representing Adamawa north, expressed worry over the country’s high infant mortality rate.
“Nigeria is the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world. The National Health act, 2014, all pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and children are to be exempted from paying for services in public hospitals,” she said.
Thereafter, the senate urged the federal government to hasten the rescue of Leah Sharibu, Dapchi schoolgirl in captivity, and the remaining 112 Chibok girls.
The upper legislative chamber also asked the federal government to establish a fund that would take care of children in states where insecurity is prevalent.