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Date Published: 05/05/10

Senator Yerima's 13 yr old wife is daughter of his Egyptian driver


By Elizabeth Archibong

The Egyptian child married last month in Abuja by Senator and former governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Yerima is the 13-year-old daughter of M Eladly, his driver in Cairo, Egypt.

Marim Maged M. Eladly was brought into Nigeria alongside 32 members of her family for the marriage to the 50-year-old Mr. Yerima because he could not marry her in Egypt, as it is against Egyptian law for a man to marry a girl who is under 18 years old.

A United Nations official who was recently in Egypt told NEXT on condition of anonymity that the Nigerian Senator literally induced the poor family of the child to give her away to him.

Mr. Yerima had loudly protested that the age of his new bride was not the much-talked about 13, although he did not state the age of the girl.

“She is the daughter of Yerima’s driver in Cairo - exploiting further their vulnerability due to poverty,” the source wrote. “I couldn’t verify the payment of $100,000 (to the bride’s family), although some money may have been paid.

But, in this case, there is no broker involved, unlike similar marriages of minors to foreign men where the broker gets all the money and the victim and their family a pittance.

Some people who attended the marriage ceremony at the Central Mosque, Abuja, said Mr. Yerima personally admitted to paying the said sum.

“The marriage took place in Nigeria and there was no marriage in Egypt, as Egyptian law is clearly against underage marriage of girls under 18 years of age.

Although, unofficially through what is called “urfi marriage” or seasonal/temporary marriage, such marriage to minors continue to exist, particularly by older men from the Gulf States who come to Egypt for such purposes,” the source said.

“Furthermore, Egyptian law also forbids marriage where the man is more than 25 years
older than the woman, as is in this case. A Saudi Arabian man over 70 who married a girl under 20 years was prosecuted based on this law.”

Human rights petition

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had, Monday, forwarded letters to the United Kingdom as well as all embassies to revoke Mr. Yerima’s visas. The commission has also decided to re-draft and send another letter to the Egyptian embassy, following what they called new discoveries.

Miss Eladly, who entered Nigeria with a tourist visa, has returned to Egypt to continue her education after what sources said was a consummation of her marriage. She might, however, not be able to have her visa renewed, as human rights groups also said letters would be sent out to the immigrations office to demand such.

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