Published On: Wed, Aug 7th, 2013

Oritsejafor Threatens Mass Protest against Child Marriage as Ogun Children Threaten Hunger Strike

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Pastor Oritsejafor

LAGOS AUGUST 7TH (URHOBOTODAY)-NATIONAL Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor, has urged the Senate to reverse its decision on child-marriage or he would mobilise Nigerians to protest against it.
Oritsejafor, who spoke with journalists Tuesday in Jos, Plateau State capital, shortly after an inter-denomination service organised by the leadership of CAN, North Central Zone, also urged politicians to stop overheating the polity ahead of 2015 general elections but to concentrate on good governance and provide the dividend of democracy to the owners of their mandate.

He insisted that marriage should not be for the immature, who would not be able to handle the numerous challenges it offers, thereby further compounding citizens’ poverty level.
And to press forward their indignation at the position of the Senate on the vexed issue, Nigerian children in Ogun State yesterday threatened an indefinite hunger strike if the Senate does not reverse itself within the next 10 days.
Besides, the children have demanded an unreserved apology from the Senate for entertaining the bill at all. They spoke after a group of children had participated in a movie in Abeokuta yesterday, exposing the hardship being faced by kids who were given into early marriage.
Entitled: “Yerima: Diary of a Child,” spokesperson of the children, Miss Pascalyne Ogbuli, told journalists that “it was during the making of this film against early child marriage that we truly realised the cruelty of child-marriage, its humiliating impact and consequences on children, especially the girl-child.”
Ogbuli said: “We, therefore, decided to champion the voice against early marriage law in Nigeria and educate other children about it because we are convinced that if no one speaks boldly for us, we should be bold enough to come together and speak for ourselves because what affects one, affects all.”
According to Oritsejafor, “no girl should be forced into marriage below the age of 18; they should be allowed to go to school and get mature so that they can make decision for themselves and be old enough to handle the challenges of marriage.”
“So, we are totally against what has happened in the Senate and are asking them to reverse it. We disagree with them, it is a wrong move and Nigeria and Nigerians will not accept it.”
The CAN president lamented that most Nigerians do not have the fear of God, stating: “It is lack of fear of God that makes a grown-up man marry a girl 13-year-old. Also, the reason people steal in Nigeria with impunity is because they don’t have the fear of God. You can see pensioners collapsing and one man will take N23 billion alone and go to sleep.
“I am not comfortable with the way politics is being played towards 2015. Politicians need to calm down, they need to know that it is all about the people and not themselves; and if they know that, they should not overheat the polity because it is the people who will suffer.
“The President, governors and other political leaders should concentrate on good governance and provide the dividend of democracy to the people, and remember that the fear of God is the beginning of life, wisdom and whatever that is good.”
Speaking on the trauma the persecuted church has gone through in the northern part of the country, Oritsejafor encouraged Christians to hold on to God, assuring that God will remember the cry of the orphans and widows, remember Plateau State and Nigeria at large.
He commended Governor Jonah David Jang’s leadership style and his courage in managing the prevailing security challenges in the state, noting that Plateau, which hosts the headquarters of many churches in the country, is worst hit by the violence.
Source: Guardian

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