– Femi Fani-Kayode
According to the respected Islamic scholar Professor Ishaq Akintola there is ‘no age restriction in Islamic marriage’. He may well be right and I honestly believe that Islam, like Christianity, is a humane and compassionate faith which seeks to protect the weak and guide its adherents on the path of righteousness and light.
I must however point out that Nigeria is not a Muslim or indeed a Christian state. She is a secular state and she is governed by secular laws. Religious laws have no place in our land or constitution. Our constitution is a secular document which specifically says that the state shall not adopt any religion. This must remain so if we do not want a divided country and if we do not want continued controversy, strife and possibly even a fully blown religious conflagration and conflict. We should all keep our religious sensitivities out of certain matters if we want continued peace.
Paedophilia, child sex, child slavery, child rape and child marriage cannot be justified under any circumstances in any civilised country. It is not a matter of religion. It is a matter of human rights, civil liberties and basic morality. There is nothing more repugnant to the natural mind and wholesome soul than the prospect of a fully grown man mounting, defiling and having carnal knowledge of a child that is between the ages of 6 and 18.
Every child, whether she be a Christian, a Muslim, a pagan, an atheist or an agnostic has the right to be fully protected by the state and by the laws of our land from sexual predators, sexual deviants, statutory rapists, unrepentant perverts and child molesters. That much we ought to be able to achieve and we ought to insist on. We are meant to protect our children and not bed them.
Like I said earlier on elsewhere in this debate, even animals don’t sleep with their own infants. Some may hate me for these words today but I speak nothing but the truth and tomorrow people will thank me for them. This is my final contribution to this heated debate. Outside of this I have nothing more to say on this vexed and contentious issue. Shalom.
Femi Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation