Following the adoption by the Senate of the controversial Section 29 of the 1999 constitution, social crusaders and aggrieved citizens signed a petition in Abuja asking the National Assembly to delete the section from the constitution. The rally, which is also holding in several parts of the country is estimated to get at least two million signatures, that would be submitted to the State Houses of Assembly, chronicling the negative implication of endorsing the controversial clause. Members of the civil society groups defiled the Saturday morning rain to sign a petition asking the National assembly to delete section 29 subsections 4b of the 1999 constitution and according to the activists, the section 29 encourages child marriage. Section 29 of the 1999 constitution allows citizens who are of age to renounce Nigerian citizenship if they wish. For that purpose, the constitution says, 18-year-olds and above shall be considered to be “of age”. In addition, a woman or girl who is married, shall also be considered to be of age-a section that could be interpreted to imply that even a day old child, once married, shall be considered to be of age. This section has always been in the constitution. The Senate’s amendment committee had proposed that definition be deleted, to exclude married girls under 18 from being able to denounce Nigerian citizenship. However, there were arguments against the deletion, which has caused uproar. A social crusader who is a legal practitioner Ikemesit Effiong insists that there are negative implications if the clause is allowed to remain. However the protesters will be hoping that the House of Representative would support the deletion of the clause since the clause has survived the Senate vote.
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