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100 orphan girls marriage: Niger Speaker sets Imams against FG- Abiodun

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100 orphan girls marriage: Niger Speaker sets Imams against FG- Abiodun

For daring to stand in his way and plan to give out for marriage 100 orphan underaged girls, Niger State Speaker, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, has reportedly set Imams in the state against the federal government.

 

The Niger State Speaker, Sarkindaji, had been in the news on his plan to give out to marriage 100 orphan teenage girls to men against the extant law of Nigeria.

 

Abiodun Essiet, Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on Community Engagement (North Central ), disclosed this in a statement, on Thursday, May 16, in reaction to interview by Abdulmalik.

 

On Tuesday, Abdulmalik accused the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, who had gone to court to secure order against Abdulmalik’s planned mass wedding, of being against his sincere desire for the underaged girls.

 

He said more than 200 girls approached him to assist them in their marriage plan, but he selected 100 girls. He added that the girls were ripe for marriage. Malik accused Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye of jumping into an issue she knew nothing about. He said he had not violated any Child Rights Act.

 

However, Abiodun Essiet, Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on Community Engagement (North Central), has said contrary to the speaker’s claim that girls are teenagers. She said while the speaker claimed the girls were in private schools, all the girls were school dropouts.

 

“My team has been to Bobi , Shadadi and Banji communities in Mariga local government Niger state where the orphans live and we discovered that some of the orphans are under aged and dropped out of school at JSS 3 and SS 1.

 

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“The speaker in his interview stated that his children are in the best private schools in Minna while he wants to marry of underaged orphans of the poor people,” Essiet said.

 

Abiodun added that the Speaker has gone a step further by setting Niger State Imams and traditional rulers against the government. She further revealed that the Imams maintained they would not back down on the marriage plans.

 

Essiet continued, “The speaker through his media interviews has successfully instigated traditional and religious leaders against the federal government’s position on underaged marriage in our Child Rights Act 2003.

 

“The Niger State Imam Forum has vowed to go ahead with the marriage plan on grounds that it did not contravene any sections of the Nigerian constitution and teachings of Islam.”

 

The SSA to President Tinubu said the offered to train the 100 orphan girls and capture them in the government’s programmes.

 

“I offered to empower these girls and also capture them in federal government programs which was communicated to the speaker and the local government chairman,” she said.

 

Essiet said “I have been in touch with the speaker, the local government chairman, some of the girls, the Governor of the state, and other traditional and religious stakeholders on this issue.”

 

The North Central Community Engagement SSA to Tinubu advised Abdulmalik to marry off her teenage daughters. She said the 100 orphan girls should be allowed to be children.

 

‘My advice to the speaker is to marry off his underaged girls before conducting the mass marriage of underaged orphans.

 

“I am not against conducting marriage for orphans above 18 years of age if they give their consent to the marriage but I am against underaged marriage. Let children be children.

 

“When senior state officials hide under the cloak of religion or culture to embark on policies and programs that exploit the economically handicapped, increase poverty, and deepen ignorance, they are only fueling the prevailing inequality and weaponizing poverty in our country. I stand against child marriage,” Essiet added.