Women Affairs Ministry Moves Against Mass Marriage of 100 Orphan Girls In Niger State




The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has said that the proposed plan by the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, to organise a mass marriage for the 100 female orphans in the State on May 24, should be investigated so as to ascertain their ages, consent as well as preparedness for the union.

The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Barrister (Mrs) Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye made the disclosure Monday, during a Press Briefing held in her office in Abuja, in reaction to the recently announced plans by the Speaker, to marry off the orphans girls who lost their parents during the banditry attacks in Mariga Local Government Area of the State, as part of his constituency projects.

While acknowledging the good gesture of the Speaker aimed at alleviating the suffering of the impoverished by pledging to pay the dowries of the bridegroom and in the procurement of the materials for the mass marriage, Barrister Kennedy-Ohanenye observed the need for the Speaker to consider the future of the children by finding out whether they prefer marriage to education and empowerment.

The Minister opined that rather than the step being taken by him to fulfil his constituency projects, the Speaker should rather look towards developing them through education, skills acquisition and other forms of empowerment as this will not only be of immense benefit to them but would also contribute to the overall development of the society.

These girls like their contemporaries in the country and globe, have great potentials and talents and as such need to be given the opportunity to develop and reach their optimum in life, she said.

According to her, by prioritizing education and empowerment over early marriage, the cycle of poverty and inequality that plaques orphans will be broken from their lives, thus enabling them to marry husbands of their choices and further reducing cases of gender based violence and out-of-school children which are usually the resultant effect of such unions.

Barr Uju also stated that in line with its mandate under the Child’s Rights Act, the Ministry has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and sought a court injunction to put a hold on the sponsored marriage until further investigation is carried out with a view to ensuring that the welfare of the orphans are adequately covered.

The Minister further restated the Ministry’s commitment to the protection of the lives of the women, children and the vulnerable in society, in line with its mandate.

Ohaeri Osondu Joseph Fnipr , Fcai

Special Assistant, Media

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