Lobbying is the attempt to influence the lawmakers or the government by individuals or
interest groups so that it makes decisions in favor of them (Okechukwu & Agbodike, 2016). The
lobbying strategy is mainly used to persuade the government directly or through legislators.
Currently, in the federal republic of Nigeria, many people are lobbying for the consent age to be
increased from 11 years to 16. This action was sparked by contradicting laws in the Nigerian
constitution on Children Act (Abdulmalik, Olayiwola, Docrat, Lund, Chisholm & Gureje, 2019).
Goals of the lobbying strategy
The principal aim of the lobbying to increase the age of consent is to seek constitutional
clarification on the laws regarding marriage and consent age in Nigeria. The marriage law
stipulates that one should not engage in contractual marriage before the age of 18 years. On the
other hand, a child under the age of 11 years is prohibited from participating in any sexual
activity. Commitment to the above crimes would earn one a life sentence.
On the contrary, Nigeria's 1999 constitution says that any woman who is married shall be
regarded to be of full age (Obiora,2016). Therefore, according to Nigeria's 1999 law, a man can
marry a girl of say, age 12, and still walk free, yet the child is abused both physically and
emotionally. According to Obiora, such reasons are why the lobbyists want the constitution to be
clear and changed to set the consent age at 16 years (2016).
Another goal for the lobbyists to champion for a higher age for consent is so that the
government can take care of the vulnerable nature of the young people. A child under the age of
16 cannot make an informed decision on a sexual relationship with an adult in this case. The
senior partner will make a significant decision, and eventually leading to the minor being
THE LOBBYING STRATEGY 3
exploited. They want the government to impose relevant children's rights. Children should be
free from experiencing such traumatic sexual violations. Nevertheless, these rights will bear
fruits only if all the states will adopt them in Nigeria.
The third goal of this petition is to curb the high population of Nigerian women who get
married before the age of 18. Statistics show that 44% of women in Nigeria are married by the
time they reach 18 (Fakunmoju & Rasool, 2018). This crisis harms the country's economy. Such
children are deprived of their right to have enough satisfying education as well as enough time to
mature and be able to manage marriage life with ease.
The advocacy for a higher age of consent in Nigeria has drawn attention from different
classes of people. Members of the Senate in Nigeria, for instance, will practice inside lobbying.
They have direct contact with the lawmakers who are mandated with the constitutional review
and change. The Senate can influence legislators directly and give policy proposals for change in
the age of consent. This setting is also referred to as direct lobbying (Robinson, Kunnuji, Shawar
& Shiffman, 2018).
The public and other interest groups lobbying for the same change as senators will run an
outside lobbying setting. These groups will do so through emails, writings, and posting relevant
information on the internet. They intend to seek support from the media and the public at large.
Members of the public lack direct contact with the legislators and therefore do not have the
opportunity to submit proposals for the law to be passed directly. They rely on the support from
one another and back up by the media.
Stakeholders, target groups, supporters, allies and enemies
THE LOBBYING STRATEGY 4
The stakeholders in fighting for increased age of consent are quite a number; the Senate,
human rights lawyers, non-governmental organizations, public and other members of the society.
The Senate backs it up and furthermore is advocating that people younger than 18 should not be
engaged in sexual contact. Human rights lawyers have stated that the law to set consent age at 11
is illegal. Non-governmental organizations have also shown interest in fighting for the rights of
the children (Fakunmoju & Rasool, 2018).
The bill to increase the consent age is entirely targeted to the Nigerian government. The
public is lobbying to have the lawmakers influenced to accept their plea and review the
constitution in favor of the public outcry. The claim is that the government is not doing enough
to protect the rights of the children. Reckless laws are exposing young ones to exploitive sexual
relations. The children do not have enough mind to make consent decisions on sexual matters,
and it is the collective responsibility of the mandated organizations and the public to fight for
Many organizations have indicated that children have no capability to fight for their
rights. As a result, it is the responsibility of the government to put in place laws that protect the
young ones. The public has stood up to fight the abusive nature of children in Nigeria of setting
such a low consent age. Netizens from different countries have shown interest and have
participated in voting for a bill to increase the age to at least 16 years (Agbawodikeizu, Ekoh,
Ebue, Ajibo, Atama & Okoye, 2019).
The bill to have the consent age increased has indeed gained interest from many people
all over the world. The majority of those following are supporting it. Many people who have read
the law claim that the contradiction between marriage age and consent age is a point of
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correction. Parents, for instance, claim that their children are protected from defilement and rape
under the age of 18. However, they are not protected from being married at age 11 and even
engaging in sexual activities.
The legislators and the committee on judiciary and legal matters are against the bill. They
have rubbished the claims, saying that no one took the time to read and understand the law
clearly. They claim that they did not link adulthood with marital status, and the current law ought
not to be changed. They are among the very few enemies of the bill to increase the age of
consent in the country.
Sub goals and priorities
There are several priorities which the lobby groups are advocating for in matters of
increasing the consent age in Nigeria. First, they want their children freed from sexual misuse
and exploitation by culprits. Parents are not convinced of their children’s safety under the current
laws, as far as sexual relationships are concerned. They want tight laws put in place. Laws which
will address children’s rights effectively and with clarity.
Secondly, Nigerians and the entire society is not pleased with the rights of women
violated. In a society where almost every country is fighting to empower women, sexual
violations are among the challenges the girlchild faces day in day out. The consent age mainly
affects females. They are likely to succumb to underage marriage, and their offenders may walk
free under the protection of the law. The lobbyists seek to address this issue and empower the
girls. They aim to increase women's self-esteem and give them a friendly environment to nature
THE LOBBYING STRATEGY 6
Thirdly, allowing age consent at 11 increases the chances of teenage pregnancies. It
provokes a high spread of sexually transmitted infections among other reproductive health
diseases. This is because, at such a young age, children lack moral knowledge to decide how to
practice safe sex. The lobbyists, therefore, want to curb this behavior and prevent this danger
from innocent children. They want to secure enough time for the children to grow physically and
mentally. Enough time for the children to grow psychologically is essential before they engage in
For a society to develop, it must consider the life of future generations. The current
generation is the one to determine the life of future generations. The current society is mandated
to give moral support to the minor. Society is responsible for educating the children on what is
good and bad, as well as the right time to engage in adult activities. The drive for consent age
change in Nigeria is motivated by the wish to give children ample time to pursue their dreams.
Finally, the lobbyists are seeking to influence the government to include public
participation before they amend bills into law. Putting up a law that contradicts the culture of
society is ridiculous. The public aims to have the moral culture of the society respected. They do
not want to lose the moral sense of their children in the name of modernization, which in this
case, is immoral and against their culture. They target to have full participation in making laws
concerning their children.
Actions regarding strategy
The lobbyists may choose several ways to action towards influencing the government to
change the law. First, they may decide on building alliances. An alliance geared to attracting
more supports and influencing the government at the same time. This alliance would be a better
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and convenient way to air out their grievances to the government. The bigger the alliance, the
more the government is likely to listen to them. An alliance sets a good platform to lobby.
Secondly, they can choose to hold protests and peaceful demonstrations. This can attract
attention from many people within a short time. It is a stern way to show the government how
serious the issue is. However, protests should be used to a government that is too reluctant to
listen to its people. The public may also insert pressure on the government through social media
platforms and inviting the media for back up. Stressing the government throughout the same
issue over time would eventually bear fruits.
Finally, the lobbyists can also action by sponsoring campaigns to address their
discomforts. Offering moral support and advice to the active lobbyists as well as serving them
with more ideas and relevant reasons why the age of consent should be increased is essential.
Actions like sponsoring constituents to act as lobbyists are effective. They may also choose to
use interested senators or legislators as lobbyists to represent them. By doing such, the chosen
leaders who are in direct contact with the government will participate in the legislation meetings
and influence the other government officials to change the law in favor of the public.
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education in Mississippi and Nigeria: the importance of local actors, policy windows and
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Abdulmalik, J., Olayiwola, S., Docrat, S., Lund, C., Chisholm, D., & Gureje, O. (2019).
Sustainable financing mechanisms for strengthening mental health systems in
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Agbawodikeizu, P. U., Ekoh, P. C., Ebue, M. E., Ajibo, H. T., Atama, C. S., & Okoye, U. O.
(2019). Knowledge of what constitutes gender-based violence among adult residents of
Igbo-Eze North LGA, Enugu State, Nigeria and practice implications for social
workers. Journal of Social Work in Developing Societies, 1(2).
Fakunmoju, S. B., & Rasool, S. (2018). Exposure to Violence and Beliefs About Violence
Against Women Among Adolescents in Nigeria and South Africa. SAGE Open, 8(4),
Obiora, L. A. (2016). Probing the Parameters of Gender, Power, and Democracy in Nigeria.
In Gender and Power (pp. 64-81). Palgrave Macmillan, London.