Speaker Lampoons Minister For Speaking Against Plan To Marry Off 100 Girls

Niger State House of Assembly Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji has lashed out at the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for opposing his decision to sponsor the wedding of 100 girls orphaned by banditry.

He said she was being misled.

Sarkindaji told reporters that the minister does not know anything about his constituency and their needs and has no right to criticise his decision.

He said Kennedy-Ohanenye never called to seek his opinion before going to press.

The Speaker said he only agreed to support the marriage of the girls, who he insisted were of age, when the traditional and religious leaders in his constituency approached him.


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“The traditional and religious leaders approached me and I decided to support the girls.

“They initially submitted the names of 210 girls to me, but we cut it down to 100. Does the Minister want to say that these leaders are wrong?

“They told me that I would bless the marriage and I told them I cannot attend every marriage so they should do it in a day and I would grace the occasion and that is the reason for the event.

I had wanted to grace the occasion but I won’t do that again since helping my people has become a crime.

“I will not withdraw whatever support or donations I have given to the leaders and the parents. If they wish to get married, they can. If not, they can use the money and the items for something else,” he stated. Sarkindaji insisted he did no wrong.

“I am a typical Hausa man. What is out of order in what I have done? Why is this issue being overflogged? I have pledged to take care of orphans and that is what I am doing.

“If the Federal Government through the Ministry of Women Affairs wants to extend their helping hands, let them do so, they are welcome.

“Where was the Minister when my people were facing insecurity? Let her go to the local government, let her find out who those girls are. They are not underaged.

“She should stop tarnishing my image. I am a public figure and the Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly.

“The approach of the minister is bad. She should have reached out to me and discussed it with me.

“I would have accepted whatever suggestions she made because I value help and assistance for my people. I am disappointed with her actions and disheartened by it.”

The minister said on Monday she had approached the court to stop mass marriage slated for May 24. She also petitioned the police.




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