(From Naomi Sharang, NAN)
The Senate committee on INEC has rejected a suggestion that Under-18 married girls should have the right to vote.
Fielding question on Tuesday in Abuja at the NAN Forum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the committee chairman, Sen Kabiru Gaya, said the suggestion was made at the public hearing on electoral reforms.
He said the on-going amendment to the Electoral Act No 6 of 2010 would not confer voting right on underage, but married girls referred to as child-wives.
Gaya said the issue raised a lot of dust when it was presented in a memorandum submitted to a technical committee set up on the reforms.
“One of the people who came to the public hearing submitted the memorandum and argued that the word underage was not his, but that any woman or man that is married should be considered as an adult.
“That was his reason. Our own resolve is that if a woman is at the age of 16 and she gets married, she should not be allowed to vote.
“Generally there was a lot of noise about. It was in a memorandum submitted by a group of people and they have their rights as Nigerians.
“But when we came to the committee, we discussed a lot on that and at the end of the day, we felt we could not go along with that suggestion and it was dropped,’’ he said.
Sen. Gaya said there was another suggestion not to hold elections on Saturdays as some faithful observe the day as their holy day.
He added that the same argument would be made if elections were fixed for Fridays or Sundays.
“If we move elections to Fridays some people will say it is their worship day; if we move it to Sundays, some other people will say it is also their worship day.
“So, that suggestion was also thrown out,” Gaya said.