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SILENT VOICES

Sometime in the early nineties, the news came flooding the screen and the tabloids. ‘‘A famous ruling of the High court of kano upheld the right of a father to compel his virgin daughter into marriage without her consent and even as she has not attained puberty” supposedly in line with the Maliki School Of Islamic law, which had been invoked by the lower court. One such virgin daughter was Amina Umar [not real name]. At the age of nine, her father married her off to one Mallam Ibrahim Garbar [not real name], a 40-year old cattle dealer to whom he owed money. For two years, she refused to go live with her putative husband, but she was taken to his house when she begun to menstruate at the age of twelve. Still not content to accept her lot, she twice ran away and was forcibly returned. On the third occasion, Mallam Ibrahim pinned her down and chopped off her legs with a poisoned cutlass resulting in her death.
Each time I think about this story eyes well up, igniting the fire of activism in me. Her case represents the large number of teenagers in Northern Nigeria who are married off by their parents to much older men with or without their consent. Such early marriage undermines a number of rights guaranteed by the convention on rights of the child to which Nigeria is a signatory.
Islamic advocates, justify early marriage as necessary for preserving girls’ virginity. Very often, marriage exposes an otherwise healthy, virgin girl to grave health risks such as HIV And VVF.
Child brides of older men are powerless, and face heavy penalties including death if they take any independent action. The death of 12-year old Amina Umar who attempted to leave an unwanted husband is a terrible testimony to the absolute unjustifiable authority of a father and a husband to enforce child marriage in northern Nigeria.
My belief is that everything is possible as long as one puts their heart on it. I decide to embark on a programme to empower young girls and women with the skills needed to take charge of their reproductive health and rights. This idea gave birth to my NGO ‘STELLAMARIS LIFE FOUNDATION’. We make use of community outreaches, seminars, as well as our current bi-annual magazine “YOUTHWATCH’ to reach out to our audience.
My continued search for a wider platform to transmit my voice brought me to “WORLD PULSE’. It would be an absolute shame for stories like this to continue to fall under the radar. My vision is to help bring to limelight those ‘silent voices’. With my story, to give life, hope and courage. With my dedication, to transform many lives for the better.
Her blood was spilled to enable others regain their freedom and I am glad to be a part of this struggle for freedom.
Continue to Rest In Peace Amina and thank you for igniting this fire of activism in me.

Comments

Carri Pence's picture

Your story is truly sad and

Your story is truly sad and horrific. Your NGO lies on not only the voice of Nigerians but so many women around the world. Thus, as part of the PulseWire community we applaud you for your brave acts. I hope you join the Nigerian Cafe, which will help you connect with other Nigerians and help you communicate and network this issue that show bring a tear to everyones heart. Your article was well written where I fear that most countries use religion to create inequality. I even see it here in the US, where people choose the words of Christianity to support their ignorant views.

Regards,
Carri Pence

nynaadaoma's picture

yeah

Dear carri,you sure got it.Would join the nigerian cafe.Thank you for gong through my write up.I feel greatly honoured.Lets keep working for women liberation.Hugs- nnenna urom

Nnenna Urom

ShukThi's picture

Nynaadaoma

Your personal journey to these pages is inspiring. I applaud you for seeking a clear solution to gender-based violence in your local context. You have vision, idealism and pragmatism. I wish you success.

This is a great community to connect to sources of funding, media outlets and much more.

Regarding the assignment, I would encourage you to perhaps use the HTML tags like

    and to make pieces of your post stand out more. Your story is quite powerful, and it would be wonderful if it could have a wider audience.

Best wishes
ShukThi

limab's picture

Horrible and Wonderful

Nynaadaoma,

While your story is horrific, there is a wonderfulness which stems from that tragedy-- your personal rise to activism to prevent the next Aminas, the next 20 child brides and so on. Horrible things are committed in the guise of religion and through stories like yours, those who pass on due to this violence are given a voice even in death. Thanks for sharing your personal story.

Lima, your Listener for this week.

Khushbu's picture

Heartwrenching

Dear Nynaadaoma

Your post is wonderful, and I thank you for bringing such horrific stories to our attention. The world really needs to know the cruelties and injustices inflicted on woman. It is a shame that a father does this to his daughter. I am saddened by the stories.

You are an inspiring woman and it has been a pleasure listening to you this week..Please continue writing and sharing.

Love
Khushbu

Khushbu Agrawal

nynaadaoma's picture

Im gratefull

@ShukThi, you are a great inspiration in my life. I am so happy to find someone who shares ion my passion. Stories like this abound everywhere in Nigeria and seem to go unnnoticed. Pulsewire has come to expose them all.I will try to make my posts more noticeable.God bless you.
@Lima,I can feel your heartbeat though miles away.Lets continue working towards the liberation of women in chains.
@Khushbu,Thank you so much.I wont relent in my efforts,knowing that i have people like you who listen to my voice.

Nnenna Urom

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