The National Joint Committee of the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (INEC) proposed the right to vote for married underage girls on the electoral commision.
The National Assembly Joint Panel made a report to the Technical Committee to work on the new electoral act introduced by the federal legislature, even though the constitution officially sets the qualifying age for voting at 18.
This came two weeks earlier, after a similar suggestion was made by several stakeholders. Kabiru Gaya, chairman of the INEC Senate Committee, who spoke at the opening of the Technical Committee in Abuja, said that the recommendation was a consensus decision of the Joint Panel.
“The joint committee has proposed that if a lady who is not up to 18 years is married, she should be considered to be mature enough and be eligible to vote.”
However, after the chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, said that the question of voting age is a constitutional issue and that the legislation still accepts 18 as a marriage age, Aisha Dukku, chairman of the INEC House of Representatives Committee, said that the recommendation could not be refused because it was proposed by stakeholders at the public hearing.
“It is already in the electoral act amendments submitted in the last assembly, so it cannot be thrown away just like that.
“We should look at it and come up with something instead of throwing it away. It is not from us but from the stakeholders on the day of the public hearing held in the 8th assembly.”