Politics

JUST IN: Niger Speaker halts wedding plans for 100 orphans

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The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulamlik Sarkindaji, has stopped the planned hosting of the wedding of 100 orphan girls in his constituency, saying he would not grace the occasion.

According to The Punch, Sarkindaji took the decision following the action of the Women Affairs Minister, Uju Ohannaya, who dragged the Speaker to court to halt the wedding.

The Speaker made this known on Tuesday during a media briefing in which he said the minister had overstepped her bounds.

He said the minister should take over the sponsorship of the wedding ceremony.

The Speaker disclosed that he had already made funds available to the girls’ parents through the traditional leaders and clerics of his constituency, noting that he would not withdraw the funds.

Abdulmalik also pointed out that his motive for wanting to sponsor the wedding was the state of poverty of the girls’ parents and not the constituency project, as reported in the media.

The Women Affairs Minister had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, and sought a court injunction to stop the Niger Speaker from marrying off the girls.

The Speaker had reportedly announced plans to marry off the orphaned girls, who lost their parents due to banditry attacks in the Mariga Local Government Area as part of his constituency projects on May 24.

He announced that the gesture was “aimed at alleviating the suffering of the impoverished”, pledging to pay the dowries for the bridegrooms and procuring materials for the mass marriage.

Kennedy-Ohanenye, while briefing newsmen in Abuja described the plans as “unacceptable” emphasising that a full-scale investigation had commenced on the issue.

“I want to let the honourable speaker of the house in Niger states know that this is unacceptable by the Federal Minister Of Women Affairs and by the government unacceptable.

“Because there is something called the Child’s Rights Act and I said it from the onset, that is no more business as usual.

“These children must be considered, their future must be considered, the future of the children to come out of their marriage must be considered.”

 

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