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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Niger Imams Insist On Marrying Off 100 Female Orphans; Dare Womens Minister; Demands Her Sack

Niger Speaker, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji,
The Niger State Council of Imams has given the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye a week ultimatum to withdraw her comments over plans to sue the Niger State Speaker, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji.

Sarkindaji had announced a plan to sponsor the wedding of 100 orphans girls in his constituency in Mariga Local Government Area.

This he said is because the some of the girls had lost their parents to banditry while some fall in category of having parents who can’t foot their marriage expenses.

Reacting to the threat of legal action against the Speaker, the Council, on Wednesday described the minister’s action as blackmail.

Meanwhile the Minister of Women Affairs, had alleged that the girls were being married off against their will.

The Director General of the Niger State Religious Affairs, Dr Umar Farouk, who gave the ultimatum, insisted that the minister has overstepped her limits and must withdraw her statement of blackmail against the speaker and religious leaders on the matter.

READ ALSO: ‘You Didn’t Think Of Empowerment Or Sending Them To School’ — Women Affairs Minister Sues Niger Speaker Over Plans To Marry Off 100 Female Orphans

According to him: “The 24th May 2024 date of the wedding remains sacrosanct, as the Imam Forum, in conjunction with the parents of the brides, will go ahead with the ceremony. The Niger State Speaker, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, has done his part of the donation to ensure the success of the marriage of the 100 orphan women.”

The forum further called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sack the minister from his cabinet for alleged incompetence as well as an attempt to cause religious disharmony in Niger State and Nigeria.

“The minister should also withdraw her statement of blackmail against the speaker, religious leaders and the entire state for saying the women are underage.

“The planned marriage has the blessing of all the religious and traditional leaders from the area. The sponsor of the marriage consulted widely before accepting the responsibility and we are strongly behind him.

“The girls are not underage and they are not being forced into marriage, as the minister has made the public believe. This is what the minister failed to investigate,” Farouk stated.

Calling on philanthropists, well-to-do individuals and politicians to emulate Niger State Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, Farouk added that the girls are between the ages of 18 and 25, including widows, hence, there is no forced marriage, as six procedures were strictly followed for the selection of the beneficiaries.

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