by - March 09, 2018

Few years ago in our creative writing workshop, our instructor compelled us all to come up with a fictional story; which will be submitted to him typed and spiral bind. We had all been divided into different groups, and I happened to be one of the group leaders. So, I had to come up with a story which I ultimately wrote. Of course, I had support from few of the group members, but since I came up with the idea, I had to finish it up. I knew almost every group leader was going to write about something pertaining to love a story (which is a very good theme by the way) but I was bored with that, and decided to actually create an awareness about a particular reoccurring situation in the Northern part of Nigeria, which most people are actually oblivious of(the consequence). The purpose was to actually enlighten people about this menace and it's utmost consequence which is Vesico Vaginal Fistula.

It is a known fact, that in the Northern part of the country, the barbaric custom of giving out a girl child's hand in marriage is very prevalent; which is usually carried out without the consent of the little girl involved(even if the girl consents to, which is not possible, it is still very wrong). It is seen as a norm, and not something shameful, because, even the enlightened ones are guilty of this act. They are supposed to condemn this act right? And fight against it totally. But, it is very surprising that this vice has come to stay, and its beginning to be seen as the new cool. In the year 2010, Senator Ahmed Yerima was under fire from every critic in the country for taking a young girl of thirteen years of age as a wife. But the paedophile came out openly to justify his action with his religion. In his own words, he said it wasn't against his religion to take an under aged girl as his wife.

The child rights act, which was passed in 2003, sets the age of marriage at 18 years old. However, only 23 of Nigeria's 36 states have taken concrete steps to implement the law. The practice of child marriage is still prevalent among the Hausa-Fulani tribe where most of them are Muslims. And where, the Shari'a law is in force. The Senator literally pressed the Senate to reverse a vote that appeared to outlaw underage marriage. He contested and he won the reversal. Section 29 (the contentious provision) allows citizens who are of age to renounce Nigerian citizenship if they wish. According to the constitution, once you are 18 years and above, you shall be considered to be of age. So, automatically, once a girl or a woman is married, she is considered an adult. Which means even a day old child once married can be referred to as an adult. Isn't this preposterous? One would have thought that with our level of education and exposure, something like this would have been termed as being archaic (one of my favourite words so get used to it) but few years later, Lamido Sanusi the former governor of Central Bank Of Nigeria carried out the same act. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing was done to checkmate this Vice.

Children are meant to be protected and taken care of. But these cradle snatchers wholeheartedly take away their innocence from them without any form of remorse or reflection of how this will negatively impact them. This brings me to the question, what exactly is Vesico Vaginal Fistula? What factor is primarily responsible for this? A Vesico Vaginal Fistula is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder(or Vesico) and the Vaginal that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the Vaginal vault. It is often caused by cildbirth (in which case it is known as an obstetric fistula) which prolonged labor presses the unborn child tightly against the pelvis, cutting off blood flow to the Vesico Vaginal wall (wikipaedia). This medical condition is not only limited to underage girls,grown women also experience it. But I will be focusing on the underage girls that experience this terrible condition.

As earlier stated, young girls are more prone to experience this (VVF) because of their small pelvic sizes which explains the reason these girls experience obstructed labour. Unqualified midwives just slice through the Vaginal to allow the baby come out, which results in Vesico Vaginal Fistula. Which makes urine and feces leak through the Vaginal. This always lead to an offensive odour, emanating from the victim in question. The Victims are often time treated as an outcast because of the smell. The psychological trauma that accompanies this can also not be pushed aside. So why exactly are the enlightened paedophiles in our country still carrying out this act? What about the parents of this little girls, why are they comfortable with this crude act of subjecting their female children to such traumatising experience? Why is everyone (the Northerners who see nothing in this) justifying this absurd practice with the Religion card? I am angry that in this present dispensation, such practice is occurring, and there seem to be no way out.

The girl child deserves better than this punishment. (All children's lives matter irrespective of their sex) They are being subjected to assuming the 'Wifey Role' at a very young age, making them abandoning their ambitions and aspirations in life. What about her education? It automatically comes to a stand still once she gets married to a man old enough to be her father(save for few who still further their education). Her innocence and childhood is being taken away from her, but she has no voice to protest; because she has been taught to accept it in good faith. But we all can stand against this menace right? We can all kick against and let people know that the girl child is not an object without emotion that must be sold off. She deserves every opportunities and treatment like the male child. Make that girl child grow up into a fulfilled being. Give her a pen, and not a penis.

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