(By Laide Raheem – ABEOKUTA)
An Anglican Bishop and Rector of Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, Rt. Rev (Prof) Andrew Igenoza has called on other clerics and well-meaning Nigerians to denounce girl-child marriages across the country.
The cleric, speaking against the backdrop of a forced marriage between a 14 year-old girl, Habiba Isa and Jamiu Lawal, allegedly brokered by the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdul-Muminu Usman, described the act as “immoral” which must be condemned in its entirety.
He added that apart from the trauma associated with child abuse, the health implication of Vesico Vaginal Fistula, (VVF) could have devastating effects on the victim.
Prof. Igenoza who spoke at an event to unveil the programme to commemorate Crowther Week, held in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, however, wondered how a 14 year old girl would be able to withstand the rigour of child birth. He maintained that eminent Nigerians should condemn the practice.
“This issue of child marriage is an immoral act that needs to be denounced. I still find it difficult to comprehend how a 14 year old girl, who is still a child, will have strength to carry and deliver a baby?
“Apart from this, the health issue of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) associated with this kind of immoral act, could be devastating and have permanent scar on the victim of child marriage.”
Speaking further on the activities lined up to commemorate Crowther Week, the rector, said the week was conceived in order to highlight the missionary activities of late Bishop Ajayi Crowther and his contribution to the development of Christianity in Nigeria.
He added that the commemorative event which is expected to have the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo and erstwhile Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana in attendance, will commence on Wednesday, November 2 with Holy Communion Service and end on Sunday, November 6 with a thanksgiving service.