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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

I’m not sponsoring 100 girls into forced marriage -Speaker counters minister

…Withdraws mass wedding sponsorship offer

Speaker of the Niger House of Assembly, Mr. Abdulmalik Sarkin-daji, has denied forcing 100 orphaned girls into marriage.

The Speaker spoke in response to the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, who has petitioned the Inspector General of Police on the matter.

The minister had sought a court order to restrain the Speaker from sponsoring the 100 orphaned girls into forced marriage.

Addressing a Press conference on Tuesday in Minna, Sarking-daji said the minister’s allegation was untrue and mere speculations.

“I didn’t force any child into marriage and I didn’t arrange the marriage of anybody,” he said.

The Speaker explained that recently, he had announced plans to support orphaned girls, especially victims of banditry attacks, to get married following an appeal by religious and traditional leaders from his constituency.

Sarkin-daji said he was approached by religious and traditional leaders in his constituency to support less privileged parents whose children were due for marriage.

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“They appealed for my support on behalf of the less privileged parents whose children are of maturity age with suitors of their choice but cannot afford marriage expenses.

“They wanted my support and I felt that instead of allowing the girls fall into fornication because of the marriage expenses, I decided to respect the appeal and support them,” he said.

The Speaker further explained that apart from Women Affairs Minister, he also received a message from Senior Special Assistant to President on Community Engagement, Mrs. Abiodun Essiet, on the issue.

“The honorable minister should have got across to me directly to share ideas and work out initiatives on how to develop the gesture and serve as guidance, rather than making a topic out of it,” Sarkin-daji said.

He urged the minister to always confirm issues from reliable sources, as against relying on social media fake stories.

Sarkin-daji said about 200 UTME candidates of which majority were orphans and Internally Displaced Persons from his constituency had benefited from his support programme.

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The Speaker, however, said he had withdrawn the marriage support to the orphans following the ministers’ petition, pledging to communicate the action to his constituency soon. (NAN)

Rita Iliya
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