FG Petitions IGP, Drags Niger Speaker to Court Over Moves To Marry Off 100 Girls

The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Barrister Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, recently stirred controversy by announcing his intention to support the marriage of 100 young female orphans in his constituency. These girls, victims of banditry and terrorism in Niger state, were proposed to be married off in May, with Sarkindaji pledging to cover their dowries entirely.

FG Petitions IGP, Drags Niger Speaker to Court Over Moves To Marry Off 100 Girls

This move, however, has faced staunch opposition, particularly from Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, the Minister of Women Affairs, who has vowed to take legal action to prevent the marriages.

Minister Condemns Plans of Niger State Speaker

In response to Sarkindaji’s initiative, Minister Kennedy-Ohanenye has taken decisive steps, petitioning the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and seeking a court injunction to block the proposed marriages. The minister’s concern lies in safeguarding the rights and futures of these vulnerable girls, ensuring that they are not coerced into marriages against their will.

The controversy erupted when Sarkindaji, as part of his constituency project, announced plans to facilitate the weddings of these orphaned girls from the Mariga Local Government Area, who had tragically lost their parents to banditry attacks. While the Speaker clarified that his support was aimed at financing the weddings and not compelling the girls into marriage, the public outcry persisted.

Kennedy-Ohanenye vehemently denounced the proposal, labeling it as “unacceptable” and emphasizing the need to prioritize the well-being and future prospects of the affected girls. She asserted that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the government at large cannot condone such actions, citing the Child’s Right Act as a basis for her stance.

Expressing her concerns to journalists in Abuja, Minister Kennedy-Ohanenye underscored the gravity of the situation, highlighting the imperative of a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the issue. Additionally, she outlined plans for the ministry to assume responsibility for the education and vocational training of the girls, ensuring that they have the opportunity to build independent and fulfilling lives.

“I want to make it unequivocally clear to the honorable Speaker of the House in Niger state that this proposal is entirely unacceptable to the Federal Ministry Of Women Affairs and the government. The era of business as usual is over,” Kennedy-Ohanenye declared, reaffirming her commitment to protecting the rights and interests of vulnerable girls across the nation.

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