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100 Niger orphans’ marriage: FOMWAN tackles minister

The Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) has berated the Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for her stance on…

The Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) has berated the Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for her stance on the arrangements for the sponsored marriage of 100 orphans in Niger State.

The Ameerah (leader) FOMWAN, Niger State chapter, Hajiya Maryam Sani, said this on Tuesday in a statement.

Daily Trust reports that the marriage arrangement was sponsored by the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Hon. Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji, with the event slated to take place on May 24, 2024.

The minister’s stance has also led to protests and condemnations from the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and other Muslim organisations.

The minister, on Monday, said she had approached a court of law to stop the speaker from marrying off 100 prospective brides and that she had also petitioned the IGP over the Sarkin-Daji’s plan.

Hajiya Sani said the Niger State Council of Ulamas had invited other Islamic organisations including Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC), for a meeting.

She said the meeting condemned the wrong interference of the minister who knew nothing about the teachings of Islam and did not verify the true situation before she acted.

She also said the Ulamas of the concerned local government area where the girls came from verified that the girls, among others, were not forced to marry and were not underage as one of them is 25 years.

“The Speaker only offered to help when he was contacted for support. The girls are even 250 but the Speaker offered to only support 100.

“A form was designed to be filled by the guardians of the girls and were warned that any fake information given would disqualify any girl. The fathers of the girls were killed by bandits and some of them were kidnapped and released. So, they are orphans.

“The marriage will go on as planned. MULAC is to handle the matter at national level,” Hajiya Sani said.

The meeting also concluded that the minister should apologise and withdraw her statements.

She added that information from Mariga LGA showed that some of the girls had finished SS3 though that has not been verified yet.

“Some of them have never been to school as the girls are drawn from different communities of the LGA with different cultures.

“The speaker promised a token gift of N100,000 as capital for the their kind of local businesses (buying of grains and rearing of animals among others). The suitors were the girls’ long choices but lack of wherewithal stopped the marriage and hence the speaker was contacted,” she said.

Hajiya Sani noted that the speaker had served as the LGA chairman for two terms in the past.

Commenting on the matter, the national leadership of FOMWAN in Abuja said after careful verification of the issues of the marriage of 100 girls in Mariga Local Government of Niger State, through information received from the LGA’s Amira, Hajiya Maryam Sani, they condemn the decision of the minister and have actively been participating in decisions taken on the matter.

“Collaborative communique issued through the Bureau for Religious Affairs, said a petition was sent the Minister and FOMWAN was signatory to the petition. The State Bureau For Religious Affairs has taken the ownership of the marriage issues and is going ahead with the marriage,” the national headquarters of the organisation said on Tuesday night.


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