If you're scared of having a girl child for fear of societal ills but consistently do nothing to ensure a safe society for women and girls, then you're like the man who fails to fortify his roofing ahead of the rainy season and instead hopes umbrellas will prevent him from getting drenched when the rain finally shatters his ceiling.

A fool is a fool.

While it appears a good number of men and women don't seem to understand the rudiments of sex education as it relates to consent, statutory laws and sexual violence, little is being done by the knowledgable demographic to enlighten the general public. And this is perhaps why there's been an increase in the population of dweebs, doofuses and hyenanas, just to mention a few.

Sometime ago, Twitter NG was besieged by some individuals who rained religion-induced expletives after a picture surfaced online in which a young and beautiful couple exchanged a kiss. And knowing Twitter for the unpredictable vortex it is, the topic of child marriage sprung up and boy, the number of young adults - male and female - of northern origin who publicly endorsed or justified the horrendous ideology was staggering. One would think men were the sole enablers of sexual violence and abuse but it appears there's more to it than meets the eye.

But amidst the madness that ensued, I learnt one or two things and of note was the evidence/accounts-based documentation that the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus was just about 13 years old at the time of conception. All my life, I'd never given it much thought. But I know better now.

Also, my curiosity was piqued and I couldn't help but ask myself if the prevalence of child marriage in the modern day was premised on a socio-cultural obsession with virgins.

According to old Jewish customs, young girls were often betrothed at a very young age, which perhaps explains the Virgin Mary's situation. However, that tradition has since been dropped, presumably, and I haven't seen or heard of any modern Christian marriage involving an underaged partner.

So I humbly ask, how's child marriage still prevalent in the northern part of Nigeria? Is child marriage endorsed in Islam?

By the way, I didn't come about this based on Twitter conversations alone. I lived in Bauchi State and visited neighboring northern states for about 11 months+ between 2015 and 2016, so I know too well how deeply rooted this tumour is in those parts.

Furthermore, Niger (not Nigeria) currently has the highest rate of child marriage in the world, with the legal age of marriage for girls being 15. Though a law has been proposed to change the age to 18, it is yet to be adopted for reasons best known to extraterrestrial beings.

And where does that leave us? Frankly, I have no idea. It's why I'm putting this out in order to have well-informed opinions and contributions to this issue.

-       Damzy.