News Release

Islamic and Christian Leaders Agree on Sexual Purity

“The Koran and Hadith say no marriage, no sex,” said Islamic leader Imam Taofeek Miqdad at an open forum discussion during the 15th Lagos Book and Art Festival at Freedom Park.

To support this position, he referred to the “Sexual Purity” section of For the Strength of Youth – a booklet for young people, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The open forum panel addressed the topic, “When Should Our Babies Get Married?” – a topic related to recent controversy over Nigeria’s legal age to marry. The law in the Civil Code, which operates in southern Nigeria, puts age of consent for marriage at 18, while the Penal Code law, which operates in northern Nigeria, puts it at 13.

Taofeek Miqdad believes there is a double standard on the part of the government of many nations that teaches that one can have sex as a teenager but can’t be married. He said this contrasts with the Koran and the Hadith.

The Latter-day Saint booklet, For the Strength of Youth, states: “The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage. . .” Taofeek Miqdad said this teaching supports the Koran which is “No marriage, no sex.”

Taofeek Miqdad was one of several panel members who expressed their viewpoints.

Lt. A. A. Baba, Director of Islamic Affairs in the Nigerian Navy, spoke on marriage and the concept of Shariah, a relationship that joins people together. He said marriage is not meant to be temporal and explained that Islam doesn’t compel or force people into marriage.

Richard Ikpeagbu, Second Counselor, Lagos Nigeria Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a stake is a group of Latter-day Saint congregations, similar to a diocese), commented that 18, the age at which one is permitted to vote, drive and float a company, is the age at which a person has matured enough mentally, emotionally, physically and psychologically to make decisions socially and otherwise.

Broadcaster Treasure Durodola, who has worked with various youth organizations in Nigeria and elsewhere, said the danger in marrying a child is “to short change her life, her opportunity, her destiny and making her useless.”

Durodola, along with other panel members, referred to occurrences of Vesicovaginal Fistula in areas of Nigeria where early marriage is practiced. They pleaded with proponents of early marriage to consider the emotional trauma of young girls forced into marriage.

Other panel members were Islamic leader Mallam Mohammed Al-Mustapha; Pastor Ahove of Conquerors Chapel International; Pamela Teresa, student at Community Senior High School, Lagos; and Oyinkansola Oyelabi, student at Yaba Tech Secondary School, Lagos.

The Lagos Book and Art Fair is an annual cultural picnic that aims to spread culture through literature and art.

In addition to participation in panel discussions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints featured a stand where Latter-day Saint books and pamphlets were displayed and given to visitors. This was an opportunity for many to learn about the Church for the first time. 

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.