Women Affairs Minister sues lawmaker over marriage plans for 100 orphans

Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, Minister of Women Affairs, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and sought for a court injunction to stop Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, Speaker of the Niger state Assembly from marrying off 100 orphaned girls.
It will be recalled that the speaker recently announced his plans to marry off the orphaned girls, who lost their parents due to banditry attacks in Mariga local government area as part of his constituency project on May 24.
He announced that the gesture is  “aimed at alleviating the suffering of the impoverished”, pledging to pay the dowries for the bridegrooms and have procured materials for the mass marriage.
Kennedy-Ohanenye, while briefing newsmen in Abuja described the plans as “unacceptable” emphasising that a full-scale investigation has commenced on the issue.
“I want to let the honorable speaker of house in Niger states to know that this is totally unacceptable by Federal Minister Of Women Affairs and by the government totally unacceptable.
“Because there is something called the  Child’s Right Act and I said it from the onset, that is no more business as usual.
“These children must be considered their future must be considered the future of the children to come out of their marriage must be considered.
“So I have gone to court. I have written him a letter and written a petition to the IG of police.
” And I have filed for injunction to stop him from whatever he is planning to do on the 24th, until a thorough investigation is carried out on those girls, find out whether they gave their consent, their ages, find out the people marrying them,” she said.
The minister, while emphasising on the need to ensure girl-child education and empowerment, stressed the need to…
“As the speaker did not think about empowering these women or sending them to school or giving them some kind of training support financially.
“The Women Affairs have decided to take it up and we are going to educate the children.
“Those that do not want to go to school, we will train them in a skill, empower them with sustainable empowerment machines to enable that child build his or her life and make-up her mind who and when to get married.
” If for any reason the Speaker tries to do contrary to what I have just mentioned there will be a serious legal battle between him and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs,” she said.
The minister further emphasised within the Child Rights Act, every child belongs to the state, hence the rights of every child will be protected from harm, violence or anything that will infringe on their rights.
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