The national assembly joint committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recommended voting right for married underage girls to the electoral commission. The national assembly joint panel made the recommendation to a technical committee which will work on the new electoral act proposed by the federal lawmakers, even though the constitution currently places the eligible age for voting at 18.
This came two weeks ago after some stakeholders made a similar recommendation. Kabiru Gaya, chairman of the senate committee on INEC who spoke at the inauguration of the technical committee in Abuja said the recommendation is a unanimous decision by 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 INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the issue of voting age is a constitutional matter and the law also recognises 18 as marriageable age, Aisha Dukku, chairperson of the house of representatives committee on INEC said the recommendation cannot be thrown out because it was suggested 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.”