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Niger speaker halts wedding plans for 100 orphans

The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Barrister Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, has withdrawn his support for a mass wedding involving 100 orphans from his…

The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Barrister Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, has withdrawn his support for a mass wedding involving 100 orphans from his constituency in Mariga LGA of the state.

The speaker withdrew his support after the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, raised concerns about the legality of the wedding and whether the girls’ consent and age for marriage, as defined by the law including the Child Rights Act, were ensured.

Speaking to journalists at the House of Assembly complex on Tuesday in Minna, the speaker explained that while he had made preparations for the wedding, including paying bride prices on behalf of the grooms, he would not reverse these expenses.

Sarkindaji said he had entrusted the decision to proceed with the wedding or not to traditional and religious leaders in the area.

Expressing disappointment with the minister’s stance, the speaker said he had not coerced any girls into marriage.

He said it was the parents who approached him seeking support, a decision made after consulting religious leaders, traditional leaders, and other stakeholders, resulting in the selection of 100 brides out of 270 intending ones.

The speaker criticized the minister for basing her actions on social media reports without verifying the facts with him and urged her to visit Internally Displaced Persons camps in Niger State to understand the challenges faced by young girls and their families.

 

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